It was another top result for Ireland’s Daniel Coyle tonight, making his third International win of the 2017 Spruce Meadows Summer Series in tonight’s Scotiabank Cup.
Coyle(IRL) once again rode the ever so consistent Cita, an 11 year-old Holstein mare, to victory over another challenging test set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios on the Meadows on the Green this evening. After the first round course left athletes conferencing with each other in the back hitching ring, working together to come up with the best plan of attack, the Scotiabank Cup would see 18, out of a starting field of 54 horse/rider combinations, qualifying to return for an epic jump off.
When asked about creating his plan during the course walk, Coyle laughed, “I think I ended up changing my mind about 10 times over the first round course, I kept asking myself over and over – should I do three or four from the Liverpool to the skinny? I had made up my mind, I was set on doing three, well I ended up doing four.” Coyle went on, “Cita really does not want to knock a fence down which makes my job so much easier – All I have to do is steer – and when I do it right, she is simply incredible.”
The podium was filled with three of the fastest mares in the sport. Following close behind the tail of Coyle on Cita, was Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan aboard Sumas Zorro and Ashlee Bond of the United States with Chela. El Dahan(EGY) was the one to set the pace in tonight’s jump off. With a time of 39.08, El Dahan was able to really put the pressure on the riders to follow, including tonight’s winner. El Dahan commented, “My team mate Joanne and I came up with a great plan for the jump off, I wanted to put down the pressure in the first half of the course and knowing that my mare is so careful, with so much quality – I went in and took the first jump and was able to hit every stride just as planned and Zorro jumped with pure class.” Looking back at where he may have lost some time to Coyle, Sameh mentioned, “I played things a little bit too safe coming around to the last oxer, and I do think that’s what caught me behind the pace of Daniel.”
Arriving just 0.58 seconds off the pace of El Dahan was Ashlee Bond(USA) aboard her top mount Chela LS. After a hard ride through the first round course, Bond managed to catch her breath to come back for the 18 horse jump off. Bond stated, “I felt much better about the jump off round, after Chela had a few days off there was no doubt that I had a very fresh horse, so I knew that I needed to take my time for the first part of the jump off. I didn’t have the opportunity to see the others go in the jump off but I know how fast they are.” Bond continued, “my horse is exceptionally good on the long gallops and this course had a lot of spots for us to run, so I think that’s where I was able to make up the time and I was thrilled to have made it into the top three.”