NI ace Coyle thrilled with golden start in Dublin
The 2018 Stena Line Dublin Horse Show has already been memorable for 23-year-old Londonderry ace Daniel Coyle, who produced a foot-perfect display to win the opening international class of the five-day show.
Coyle made his mark with a stunning win in the grassy and colourful Ballsbridge arena on board the chestnut mare Tienna, bred in Ontario by her Canadian owner Ariel Grange.
Having won consistently this year in Canada and the US, Coyle has returned to Dublin, where he started his career as a pony rider with his brother Jordan.
He was fastest of 40 starters to win the Alpes d'Or speed class with a sharp, clear round in 51.48, just a fraction faster than team colleague Darragh Kenny on board the grey Animo stallion Billy Manjaro. Kenny went on to win the Sport Ireland Classic.
A delighted Coyle said: "The horse is home bred at the Grange family farm in Ontario and should be a very good one for the future. It's always exciting to win the first class of any show. I am pleased to be back in Dublin and my mum and dad, Eleanor and Fergal, are coming down."
Coyle is a past pupil of Ardmore Primary School and Oakgrove Secondary School in Londonderry and is now one of the world's best known international showjumpers.
Stena Line's Irish ambassador for sport, Bertram Allen - who recently signed a year's contract with the company - excelled to take third place with Calafrieda, a bay Holstein bred mare, clear in 52.21.
Irish riders dominated this opening class with fourth to sixth placing going to Cameron Hanley's Theoreme Du Desir, Clement McMahon on his home bred Pacifico and Capt Geoff Curran with the Banbridge-bred Drumiller Lough, bred by Paul Dillon at Scarva Road.
Londonderry's England-based rider David Simpson, who has enjoyed Nations Cup success in the UAE, was still in the money with Unex Cognac IV.
Billy Twomey steered the highly-acclaimed Irish-bred speed stallion Ardcolum Duke, a 14-year-old grey by Gypsy Duke owned by Joe Flynn, to victory in the Minerva Stakes by Dublin Airport Central, clear in 54.46.
Kenny partnered Cassini Z by Cassini II to a runner-up clear in 54.95 ahead of GB's Harriet Nuttall in third on her grey gelding Silver Lift.
The Horsesport Ireland six-year-old jump-off class went to Gerard Clarke and King Lupin, going clear in 38.04, but not without a strong challenge by young Londonderry rider Olivia Roulston and Lisa Rosbotham's Miss Valent.
Roulston, an up and coming talent, gave Clarke a run for his money, taking runner-up in 38.17, while Eddie Moloney and Temple Alice took third ahead of Jason Foley on Castlefield Sapphire.
The Sport Ireland Classic concluded the international classes with a fine jump-off display by Ireland's Kenny on the bay Cornet Obolensky stallion Balou du Revention. He pipped Mark McAuley on Miebello, who had been leading in a time of 36.46.
Kenny sped round in 35.83 to win over €8,000 with Swiss ace and Olympic champion Steve Guerdat relegated to third with the bay mare Hannah.
Ballina's Michael G Duffy finished fourth with Lapuccino 2 ahead of Sligo's Richard Howley on Dolores.
Two Ulster pony riders - Niamh McEvoy (Omagh) and Alex Finney (Banbridge) - will not forget their brilliant winning performances on opening day.
McEvoy, who excelled last year in Dublin with her pony Fireman, bred by Marcus O'Donnell in Wicklow, returned to win the 148cm pony qualifier in a star-studded line up of qualified ponies from across Ireland.
Her mother Maeve made her name in the pony rings of Dublin and Balmoral with her famous pony Streaker and now Niamh looks set to follow in her footsteps after showing a clean pair of heels in 37.46.
Ellie Rose Cassidy, with Claggan Gypsy Delight, was second ahead of Caragh Charlton on Kosmo Van Orchids.
The Ulster pony onslaught continued with a first and second in the 138cm class by Finney on Dolly du Carel and Western Ore.
She steered Dolly, owned by Jean Finney, to victory in 32.75, beating her time on board Joe McMahon's Western Oreo, clear in 33.45. Rhys Williams with Dycott Masterman was third, ahead of Evie Quirke on Miss Mull.
The Dublin Horse Show features 1,600 horses and ponies competing for 60 cups and trophies in addition to the 14 international jumping class awards.
It takes 249 stewards, 52 judges, 30 vets and five farriers to oversee the five-day programme with 134 classes.
Three-year-old horses have the richest prize fund in the world to compete, totalling €49,250.
The main arena today begins with the small event horse jumping phase, followed by four and five-year-old young eventers. The Speed Derby starts at 1.25pm, followed by the Stable Lab stakes at 3.30pm. There is a masterclass with Cameron Hanley in Simmonscourt at 1.40pm followed by five-year-old horses and Frederic Pignon and his dancing horses. The three-year-old loose jumping final is at Simmonscourt (6pm).
Stena Line Dublin Horse Show
Minerva Stakes by Dublin Airport Central: 1 Billy Twomey IRE Adcolum Duke 0-54.46; 2 Darragh Kenny IRE Cassini Z 0- 54.95; 3 Harriet Nuttall GB Silver Lift 0- 55.25
Six year old Horse Sport Ireland: 1 Gerard Clarke, King Lupin 0-0 38.04; 2 Olivia Roulston, Miss Valent 0-0 38.17; 3 Eddie Moloney, Temple Alice 0-0 39.37
Alpes D'Or speed: 1 Daniel Coyle, IRE Tienna 0- 51.48; 2 Darragh Kenny IRE Billy Manjaro 0- 51.82; 3 Bertram Allen IRE Calafrieda 0- 52.21
Sport Ireland Classic: 1 Darragh Kenny IRE Balou du Revention 0-0 35.83; 2 Mark McAuley IRE Miebello 0-0 36.46; 3 Steve Guerdat SWI Hannah 0-0 37.11
148cm Ponies Simmonscourt: 1 Niamh McEvoy, Fireman 0-0 37.46 (Omagh); 2 Ella Rose Cassidy, Claggan Gypsy Delight 0-0 42.32; 3 Caragh Charlton, Kosmo Van Orchid 0-0 44.67
138cm Ponies: 1 Alex Finney, Dolly du Carel 0-0 32.75 (Banbridge); 2 Alex Finney, Western Oreo, 0-0 33.45; 3 Rhys Williams, Dycott Masterman 0-0 35.66