It was a scene out of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Our underdog hero, a lanky redhead, gallops astride a bay mare, charting a carefully controlled track through a relentless downpour. A steady 11 down the first line, they roll back to a tall vertical and power over a wide oxer. Right turn. Left. They slice inside to the double and package to the final oxer, racing through the timers. A euphoric smile splits our hero’s face. With five pats on the neck of his game steed and the tip of a hat, a dream is realized—a five star winner born. Eminen’s Lose Yourself rises to a slow swell.
Screen fades to black. [Cue credits.]
Ireland’s Daniel Coyle captured the biggest win of his career on Saturday. Riding Cita amidst a day-long downpour, the 23-year old topped a field of 40 to claim the $384,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI 5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
“It’s really exciting,” Coyle said. “It probably hasn’t sunk in yet, but that is, I think, my first grand prix five-star win. There’s nowhere better to do it than here.”
Of the six combinations to qualify for the jump off course designed by Alan Wade (IRL), Coyle and the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare went second to last in the order. They were the only pair to produce a double clear.
“I suppose I had a big advantage tonight,” said Lothlorien’s resident rider. “My plan was to be clear no matter what because there weren’t any at that time, so it worked out well for me.”
As for the rain, he barely noticed.
“It’s different conditions, but when you go in the ring, you kind of forget it,” said Coyle. “Then when you come out and go back through your round, yeah, it probably does play a part. But at that time, you have to forget about the rain; forget about the conditions and try to get on with the job that you’re trying to do.”
Second place went to Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) on Chaganus. Rodrigo Lambre (BRA) and Coleman took third.