Ulster's Coyle boosts World Cup bid
Ulster showjumper Daniel Coyle is well on his way to the World Cup after he produced a brilliant performance in Florida to win a $220,000 qualifier.
Londonderry rider Coyle, who was onboard the Ariel Grange-owned Cita, was third up in a jump-off at Wellington, just north of Miami, that featured five other competitors.
The Ulsterman raced home in 34.79 seconds, an unbeatable time that was enough to see off the challenge of home favourites Laura Kraut and Margie Goldstein Engle.
Kraut was second with a time of 35.14, closely followed by Engle, who could only hit 35.30.
Coyle picked up prize money of just over $72,000, as well as a Longines watch. However, the league points will be much more valuable to him.
The 23-year-old is now in a great position to line up at Paris-Bercy in April after moving up in the North American league standings.
The impressive win sees him rise to 10th in the North American World Cup league standings, which puts him firmly in line to reach the World Cup finals in a couple of months.
With County Down's Conor Swail fourth in the standings, it's looking ever more likely that there will be two Ulster representatives at the showpiece event, while Tipperary's Denis Lynch has already qualified.
There's still one qualifying round to go, but a good result would see Coyle represent Ireland at the finals. He commented: "I was very fast at the beginning of my round. I slowed down a little bit to jump the double - that wasn't an easy line to jump.
"When I went through the finish I was just hoping I had done enough to beat Margie (Engle), who had been leading with Royce, and hoping the ones that followed did what they did, so I'm a very happy man.
"I think it's the fact that you have to qualify and there are so many qualifiers around the world to get to the final, that's what makes it special for me."