Calgary, AB, Canada –The Pepsi U25 Challenge was held early Friday evening at Spruce Meadows, with 29 entries and a nine-horse jump-off, held over a 1.45m track set by Santiago Varela (ESP). The win went to Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, a 21-year-old rider, who burst onto the North American scene this year with the ride on many talented horses for Susan Grange’s Lothlorien Farm.
For the win on Friday, Coyle guided Grange’s Somerset, an eight-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare (For Pleasure x Oklund) to the fastest double clear round in 39.48 seconds. Coyle’s time pushed Kara Chad (CAN) and Torrey Pines Stable’s Tisele du Park to second place with their round in 39.90 seconds.
Hilary McNerney (USA) and Z Acodate DDL settled for third on their time of 42.24 seconds. Theodore Boris (USA) jumped into fourth place aboard Icon d’Or in a time of 43.03, and Andres Azcarraga Rivera Torres (MEX) finished fifth with Jaime Azcarraga’s Al Capone in 43.40 seconds. Boris also took sixth place honors aboard Hip Star in 43.99 seconds.
Speaking of his winning mount, Somerset, Coyle stated, “She is only eight and I actually can’t believe that she was fit to go that fast at that height. She only just moved up to that level. We always knew she was going to be a good horse, but we have been trying to get it out of her. Just in the last month here she has been fabulous and I could not be happier. She tried really hard out there.”
Somerset was jumping in the impressive International Ring at Spruce Meadows for the very first time Friday night and handled the atmosphere like a pro.
“Most horses go in there and spook and stall,” Coyle noted. “Some horses don’t like it, but I think it actually helped her, and made it easier in some ways. I think she is going to be a real good horse for the future. I asked her a lot of questions and she answered them all.”
Coyle began riding for Lothlorien Farm at the beginning of this year and traveled to compete for them at Spruce Meadows for the first time this summer with great success.
Speaking of the opportunity, he stated, “I could never put into words how much I need to thank Sue Grange, and Ariel Grange, and John Grange, as well as Conor Swail, who is a really big help to me. We are a great team together and I could not be happier to ride all of their horses. I am trying to do as good a job as I can and I can feel the horses getting slightly better all the time. Hopefully, if everything goes right, we will have a bright future together.
“When I left Ireland, a lot of people on this side of the water did not really know me, so it is always good to make a good impression,” Coyle added. “I have been lucky that way and the horses have been fabulous for me. If I do my job right, they usually can help, and we can win.”
Coyle had plans to jump Somerset again in Sunday’s 1.45m competition, but after a fantastic performance Friday night, the young mare will get a well-deserved break. “She is only eight, and it was her first time in there, and she could not have jumped any better,” he praised. “She has jumped here for five weeks, so I am going to leave her at that.”
Coyle has other mounts for the weekend, including Fortis Fortuna, who he rode to victory in the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup during last week’s Pan American Tournament. He also looks forward to making a second attempt at the derby course on Sunday riding Ridley, who jumped the demanding track for the first time during the National Tournament. The ‘North American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, continues on Saturday featuring the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m, as well as the week’s highlight ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: Pepsi U25 Challenge 1.45
1 SOMERSET Canadian Sport Horse / M / 8 / For Pleasure x Oklund DANIEL COYLE (IRL) Susan Grange: 0/0/39.48
2 TISELE DU PARK Selle Francais / M / 9 / Tinkas Boy x Ukase KARA CHAD (CAN) Torrey Pines Stable: 0/0/39.90
3 Z ACODATE DDL Dutch Warmblood / M / 12 / Acord II x Aldatus HILARY MCNERNEY (USA) Hilary McNerney: 0/0/42.24
4 ICON D’OR Belgian Sport Horse / G / 8 / Tinkas Boy x GerlyberHero Z THEODORE BORIS (ISR) Theodore Boris: 0/0/43.03
5 AL CAPONE Warmblood / S / 10 / Candillo x Argentinus ANDRES AZCARRAGA RIVERA TORRES (MEX) Jaime Azcarraga: 0/0/43.40
6 HIP STAR Swedish Warmblood / G / 8 / Hip Hop x Baloubet THEODORE BORIS (ISR) Theodore Boris: 0/0/43.99
7 LORD LEVISTO / G / 14 / Levisto x Nektar JENNIFER GATES (USA) JKG LLC: 0/4/49.92
8 SAMSON II Swedish Warmblood / G / 12 / Cardento x Bellini ZAZOU HOFFMAN (USA) Dogwood Hill: 0/8/46.86
9 QUESADA D’ELLE Selle Francais / M / 12 / Damoiseau d'Or x Quel Type d'Elle VICTORIA PRESS (USA) Victoria Press: 0/17/61.15
10 EMIEL DOR VD DURMSTEDE Belgian Warmblood / G / 12 / Wandor VD Mispelaere x Palestro VD Begijnakker d’Oz CARLY KIST (CAN) Susan Kist: 1/85.48
11 CLOCKWISE OF GREENHILL Z Zangersheide / S / 9 / Clearway x Gala UMA O NEILL (USA) Uma O Neill: 4/79.24 12 CHADOLAN Oldenburg / G / 9 / Chacco Blue x Widolan LUIS ALEJANDRO PLACSENSIA (MEX) Mario Onate: 4/79.50