Harrisburg, PA - Daniel Coyle of Ireland capped off a great week at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund with a thrilling win on Fortis Fortuna, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, in the $100,000 Prix De Penn National Presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund.
After placing second the previous two nights in the horse show's first two FEI 3* classes, Coyle, riding eighth of 10 in the jump-off, blazed over the Bernardo Cabral-designed course and finished clean in 33.63 seconds on his 11-year-old, Belgian-bred mare to claim the win.
Placing second was local hero Callan Solem of Chester Springs, PA, who had taken the lead from Ilan Bluman of Colombia with a clean ride in 35.44 seconds on VDL Wizard, owned by Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC. Bluman, first up in the jump-off, finished third with a clean round in 36.13 seconds on Ladriano Z, owned by Blue Star Investments.
"I saw Ilan's run and it was good and fast," Coyle said. "To be honest, I wasn't sure that I was going to be any faster. I had a plan to be as fast as I could and if that turned out to be good enough then it would be good; it was all I could do.
"This is my first time here and it is a brilliant show. I love the crowd's reaction and I love that they really try to make it exciting for us. I like the show and I will definitely be back!"
Solem was happy with Wizard's performance and noted, "Daniel didn't just edge us out, her crushed us! I am so fortunate to have Wizard. I've been doing this a lot longer than Daniel and to have a horse like Wizard is really very special for me. I've had a lot of generous horses but never one as capable as him so I am very thankful."
After beating Coyle the previous two nights, defending champion Leslie Burr-Howard had two rails in the first round on Gentille Van Spieveld and finished 16th with eight faults. "Leslie was very mean to me the last two nights and I felt I could only let her get away with it for so long," Coyle quipped. "Honestly, she is a great rider, as are Callan and Ilan, and I really couldn't be happier to have won this class here tonight!"
Full results and more information can be found on the show's website www.panational.org