Daniel Coyle & Simba de la Roque.
The $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by EnTrust Capital, was held on the derby field at PBIEC on Sunday, February 19, 2017 with a win for Ireland’s Daniel Coyle riding Susan Grange’s Simba de la Roque.
Course designer Richard Jeffery of Great Britain saw 41 starters over his first round course at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, USA, followed by a 15-horse jump-off with four double clear rounds. Coyle and Simba de la Roque were in a league of their own with the winning time of 36.28 seconds.
Hayley Barnhill (USA) finished second in 43.88 seconds riding Barnhill LLC’s Zephire. Emma Butchard (USA) guided her horse Brasil to third place in 45.05 seconds. Ailish Cunniffe (USA) and Whipstick Farm’s Casper placed fourth with their time of 46.80 seconds.
Simba de la Roque, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kannan x Allegreto) was previously guided to numerous victories with Ireland’s Conor Swail before changing reins to Coyle this winter, who has already recorded an international victory with him.
“I have only had Simba a couple of months now, but even with Conor, and even before Conor, he was always a fantastic horse,” Coyle stated. “I had planned for today, so it was good that it all went to plan. I would have liked to go a little bit later in the jump-off so I did not have to go as quick, but thankfully it worked out alright.”
Coyle was also the Under 25 Champion at the 2016 Royal Winter Fair and has the advantage of many new horses to ride for Susan and Ariel Grange’s Lothlorien Farm this year.
“I have been given an amazing opportunity by Sue and Ariel Grange,” he acknowledged. “To all of a sudden have all of these horses that have done five-star level that I have not done, I have gotten very lucky. I really like the under 25 because it gives me a chance to get to the next level with whatever horses I am unsure about. It is a really good class for me to get to know my horses so I don’t have to jump in something that I am not ready to do or the horse is not ready to do.
“It is brilliant that these classes are now FEI, because realistically, they are just as hard to win really.”
“The series is very important for me with Simba, for example, because it gives me a chance to get him ready for the next level through this.,” Coyle continued. “Simba definitely loves the grass, so I chose him for this. It is brilliant that these classes are now FEI, because realistically, they are just as hard to win really. That is not a small 1.45m by any means. It is important that they are now FEI because the jumps are the same height, but it gives us more experience being in the FEI environment.”
Barnhill has ridden in the under 25 series for the last four years with the same mount, her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Zephire (Coriano x Animo).
Remarking on her second place finish, Barnhill stated, “I knew there was no way that I would go as fast as Daniel, so I just wanted to jump a clear round and be quick enough. It worked out in my favor I think because everybody was trying to catch him, so a nice, smooth, clear round worked out for me.”
Barnhill has stepped Zephire up to the 1.50m level and enjoys the opportunity to jump in the under 25 classes to gain experience and jump confident rounds.
“She is a little bit older this year, so it gives you a goal and some real classes to do without having to jump the Saturday nights or bigger grand prix,” Barnhill noted. “This series has definitely helped her build up to the that level. Down here, even the three-star night classes are a little bit bigger than they are anywhere else, so it is nice to have these classes that she is really strong in.”
Butchard jumped in the under 25 series for the first time in 2016, competing in two events to get her first 1.45m experience. This year, the rider has also moved up to the 1.50m level and has built her own confidence competing in the series.
Butchard feels secure with her mount, Brasil, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Tenerife VDL x Farrington) that she has owned for one year.
“He brought me from the 1.10m up to the 1.50m now,” Butchard stated. “We call him the professor because he teaches me everything. He is the horse of a lifetime for me.”
She continued, “Today was our first time doing a jump-off at the 1.45m, so we were just trying to go clear. This year we are hoping to make it to the final.”
The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, was expanded to ten events in 2017, offering a total of $245,000 in prize money for the season. Developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition, the Series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions; all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. The series concludes with a $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.
Top 12: $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by EnTrust Capital
1. SIMBA DE LA ROQUE: 2006 Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Allegreto
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Susan Grange: 0/0/36.28
2. ZEPHIRE: 2004 KWPN mare by Coriano x Animo
HAYLEY BARNHILL (USA), Barnhill LLC: 0/0/43.88
3. BRASIL: 2006 KWPN stallion by Tenerife VDL x Farrington
EMMA BUTCHARD (USA), Emma Butchard: 0/0/45.05
4. CASPER: 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento x Robin Z
AILISH CUNNIFFE (USA), Whipstick Farm Ltd: 0/0/46.80
5. ALL IN: 2005 KWPN gelding by Aachen x Indoctro
KATHERINE STRAUSS (USA), Katherine Strauss LLC: 0/4/38.07
6. MCB MAYA: 2002 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cardento x Turban Rose 834
SOPHIE MICHAELS (USA), Further Lane Farm LLC: 0/4/40.69
7. TOSCA DU FEUGRE: 2007 Selle Francais mare by Calvaro x Nidor Platiere
LAUREN FISCHER (USA), Cheryl Fischer: 0/4/41.36
8. DIAMONTE DARCO: 2005 GBSH mare by Unbelievable Darco x Unknown
LUCAS PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 0/4/41.39
9. EREGAST VAN’T KIEZELHOF: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Latano
CLAIRE MCKEAN (USA), Claire McKean: 0/4/41.59
10. QUALITY II: 2005 NRPS stallion by Quasimodo Z x Chellano Z
CLAIRE SCHREDER (USA), Ceahorse LLC: 0/4/42.72
11. CASHEW CR: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini II x Quinar
ALEX MATZ (USA), Dorothy Matz: 0/7/57.23
12. P&P QUINTUS FABIUS: 2007 Hanoverian stallion by Quality 9 x Lehnsherr
LUIS LARRAZABAL (VEN), Guillermo Pacanins: 0/8/37.82