‘I owe everything to Legacy’: World Cup podium finishers fight back to win London grand prix

  • Just over 24 hours after the World Cup title was snatched from them at the last minute, Daniel Coyle and Legacy fought back to take the London International Horse Show grand prix in epic style.

    The Irish rider and the 13-year-old mare he owns with Ariel Grange pulled out all the stops to be crowned champions, with Ben Maher on Ginger-Blue in second and Jur Vrieling on Griffin Van De Heffinck third.

    Fourth to go of eight strong jump-off contenders, Daniel threw down the gauntlet from the off, the super little Bon Ami mare showing all her scope and agility to make the awkward turns look easy, but also her ground-covering acceleration as she took a stride out to the central oxer.

    They had gone into the lead, then next in was Ben, who had beaten Daniel the day before, and the mare with whom he already had one win under his belt this week. The Plot Blue 12-year-old turned like a 12.2hh, her effortless speed shouted home by the crowd – but ultimately they finished a whisker behind Daniel.

    “These guys push everyone to the limits; Ben had a great win yesterday and deserved it but I really thought yesterday I’d be at least top two and ended third so I was really hungry for the win today,” Daniel said. “My mare’s jumped amazing so she deserves it.”

    Daniel said the mare, with whom he represented Ireland at the 2022 World Championships, where they just missed out on team bronze, and the 2021 Europeans, is getting better with age and experience.

    “She’s a horse of a lifetime,” he said, adding that the mare was fresh as she had only jumped the World Cup and grand prix in London.

    “Four rounds of jumping and I couldn’t pick one over another; she gave her all, all week, and I’m just delighted to ride her,” he said. “When I went in I just wanted to nail it as I knew Ben was coming behind me and he won yesterday so I owed him one! That’s our mentality, we should be fighting in the ring, as friends, trying to do our best and trying to win.

    “It’s an amazing show and I owe everything to Legacy and her owner Ariel, she’s been such a huge owner of mine and without her it wouldn’t all be possible.”

    Daniel said Ben is always a threat in a jump-off, as he had proved the previous day.

    “Ben’s such a fast rider; he’s an Olympic gold medallist. But I’m just delighted to be part of it and want them to know I’m here to play with them, not just be here.”

    Ben sang the praises of the mare he owns with Jane Forbes Clark, with whom he had won on the opening day.

    “She’s been second in this grand prix so we know she likes the ring and I rode the best round I could,” he said. “She’s a very fast horse. Daniel was able to do one less stride to the second fence, a plan that I couldn’t do. I slipped on a turnback at the top; I don’t like to blame other things but it definitely slowed me down and we have to deal with that as riders. I did my best but I just wasn’t fast enough today.

    “All my horses have been great this week and it’s been fun to come here with the team of horses I have and compete and enjoy the week with my family at the same time.”

    Jur was delighted with SF Equestrian BV’s 11-year-old, whom he had also jumped in the World Cup, for four faults. The big agile Castelino Van De Helle mare jumped a beautiful clear just over two seconds behind the winning time.

    “I’m very, very happy,” Jur said. “She’s a young horse who doesn’t have the experience of these classes. Yesterday she jumped fantastic and then today – I’m very happy with her.

    “She’s very light in the mouth; I ride her in a really soft leather bit. She’s very sensitive but getting better and better.”

    Matt Sampson, who finished sixth in the World Cup and second in the snowflake stakes on his 2022 London grand prix winner Ebolensky, and notched up a win, a third and a fourth place on MGH Candy Girl, was named leading rider of the show

    “It’s incredible,” he said. “This show’s amazing and to be leading rider is great for everyone; the team at home, everyone working hard, my groom, my girlfriend, my owners, it’s what we all work for. This is the best show in the world and any result we get here is great. So to have a consistent week like that and all the horses to be great is brilliant.”

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