Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 4, 2018 – Four days of premier show jumping came to a close Sunday afternoon at the 2018 CP Palm Beach Masters, with Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Cita edging out a field of 39 other contenders to claim the championship honors in the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington CSI3*-W presented by Sovaro. Of the 40 competing pairs, 12 nations were represented in total, with Americans Laura Kraut and Margie Goldstein-Engle, respectively aboard Confu and Royce, claiming the second and third positions on the podium.
Course designer Alan Wade (IRL) provided horses and riders with a 17-effort first round track around the manicured grass ring at Deeridge Farms, which proved aptly challenging for a World Cup Finals qualifying class. Ultimately, only five pairs would manage to leave all the rails in their cups to qualify for the jump-off, with plenty of competitors falling victim to the middle oxer of the Longines-sponsored triple combination and the vertical component of the one-stride in-and-out.
After a nail-biting first round of competition, the five pairs returning for the final test would be Danielle Goldstein and The Golden Group’s Lizziemary (ISR), Goldstein-Engle and Gladewinds Partners, LLC’s Royce, Coyle and Ariel Grange’s Cita, reigning Longines World Cup™ Champion McLain Ward and Double H Farm’s HH Callas (USA) and finally Kraut and Confu, owned by St. Bride’s Farm. With such a small field in the jump-off, an error-free and speedy ride was necessary to stay in contention for the top spot.
Goldstein and Lizziemary were the first to return to the ring over Wade’s 8-fence jump-off course, and though the pair tripped the timers in a fiery 35.60 seconds, a dropped rail would open the door for the four pairs behind them. The Olympic veteran Goldstein-Engle, always a fierce competitor, took center stage immediately after, riding the first double clear of the afternoon in the irons aboard the 14-year-old stallion Royce in a time of 35.30 seconds. Royce only recently returned to the show ring after a hiatus, having been in “dressage bootcamp” with Lisa Wilcox to improve his rideability.
Third back to the ring, Coyle and his 14-year-old mare navigated the track in what appeared to be nearly effortless, splitting time on a number of tight rollback turns to break the beam in a clear 34.79 seconds to take the lead with only Ward and Kraut, both also Olympic representatives, left to ride. Ward and HH Callas, an easy crowd favorite with numerous prestigious titles to their names and Ward currently sitting third in the Longines FEI World Cup™ rankings, subsequently laid down a steady ride, but unfortunately dropped a rail in a slower time of 36.85 seconds to the dismay of the audience, placing them in fourth position. As the last to ride, Kraut and Confu were faced with the task of riding clear and faster than Coyle. The pair kept it exciting until the very last fence, crossing the timers in a faultless time of 35.14 seconds, less than half of a second behind the Irish pair, but solidifying Coyle and Cita as the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington CSI3*-W champions.
The 2018 CP Palm Beach Masters boasts a status as one of only seven North American east coast qualifiers for the Longines FEI World Cup™, with the next opportunity for athletes held Mar. 14 – 18, 2018 in Ocala, Florida. Not only a significant jewel on the road towards the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Paris this April, Sunday’s event also served as a qualifier for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina this summer.
Prior to the week’s competition, Coyle did not have either the Ocala stop or the World Cup™ Finals in Paris on his radar, but given Sunday’s results his impending schedule may be in question. Though he currently sits just a few points shy of reaching the qualifying benchmark for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in April, one more strong finish could push him over the barrier and into one of the most prestigious show jumping competitions on the globe.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Daniel Coyle – $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington FEI champion
On his reaction to winning:
“It’s an amazing feeling to beat either of these two girls and everybody that was in that five-horse jump-off. That never makes it any easier when the riders were as good as they were. I saw Margie’s ride and knew that was going to be hard to beat, nevermind McLain and Laura coming behind me. All I can say is I’m really happy to be sitting in the middle.”
“She’s a mare, so thats the first thing. It took me a long time to work out what way she likes to go best and what way she jumps the bigger fences easiest. But when she’s on my side, if it is at all possible she’ll do her best to clear all the fences for me and that’s what I love most about her.”
On his plans for Cita and their upcoming schedule:
“I’m just happy I won today. I’m not really thinking about much right now. I jumped her here last year, and we didn’t do quite as well as I hoped so I’m glad we were able to come back and clean it up. If we do qualify for World Cup Finals, I would of course love to go. World Equestrian Games was never really on our schedule. I would prefer to go to World Cup™ Finals. I would feel more comfortable going there, and I think it would be a better choice for us. I feel more comfortable and she feels more comfortable in a tight arena. It doesn’t mean she can’t do it [in a large field] but I’d like to use her to her advantage and where she is best, where she is most useful, instead of asking her to do things that are nearly out of her range. I thought I had no chance of qualifying for the World Cup Finals this year, so things might change. This is exactly show jumping.”
Laura Kraut – $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington FEI reserve champion
On her upcoming plans:
“I probably would not do the World Cup™ Finals this year. I’m thinking of the World Equestrian Games. I’m in a fortunate situation that I have both Confu as well as Zeremonie, so I’m just going to let that play out. There are so many great events to jump [this year]. This show, though, is one I always planned to do even though I wasn’t sure about World Cup Finals. There are so many variables.”
On if she would’ve ridden the jump-off differently:
“I really feel like I probably could have done one less stride to the third jump; he turned so fast I was actually still catching up and it just made us a bit slow. When it’s 3/10th of a second difference, it’s the blink of an eye and you just don’t know at that time.”
“I always really believed in the horse, but it wasn’t until about midway through the summer last year that he really started to gain some confidence and started to jump the bigger courses easily. Up until that point I’d never really asked him to go for speed because we were just gaining confidence. He finished the year with a beautiful clear but just over the time in Geneva, which was a very big, challenging course, so I put it in my head that this year if I make it into the jump-off I’m going to really ask him to go.”
Margie Goldstein- Engle – $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington FEI third place
“He’s been on a little bit of a break, but he’s been in bootcamp doing dressage work so he’s kind of bulked up. He looks a bit like The Hulk now. Lisa Wilcox has been working with him and she’s been working with him the last couple of years because he’s always had the ability in the jump, but the issue was in the rideability so she’s helped me quite a bit.”
On if she would’ve ridden the jump-off differently:
“Just maybe the first line. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I probably should’ve done the six strides down the first line, but it’s his first class back in about three months, so I was a little bit cautious down the first line, but then he picked it up and he felt great by the end.”
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
$220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington FEI Presented by Sovaro
1. Cita / Daniel Coyle / IRL / 0 / 0 / 34.79
2. Confu / Laura Kraut / USA / 0 / 0 / 35.14
3. Royce / Margie Goldstein-Engle / USA / 0 / 0 / 35.30
4. Lizziemary / Danielle Goldstein / ISR / 0 / 0 / 35.60
5. HH Callas / McLain Ward / USA / 0 / 4 / 36.85
6. HH Conrad / Quentin Judge / USA / 1 / 89.94
7. RMF Echo / Denis Lynch / IRL / 4 / 81.14
8. Donna Speciale / Leslie Burr-Howard / USA / 4 / 83.15
9. RMF Swinny Du Parc / Jessica Springsteen / USA / 4 / 83.42
10. Waterford / Lauren Hough / USA / 4 / 83.59
11. Coach / Beezie Madden / USA / 4 / 83.64
12. Dixson / Ian Millar / CAN / 4 / 84.11
For a full list of results, please click here.