Feb.15, 2024 – Ocala, FL – Sunny skies set a beautiful stage for the featured jumper event Thursday morning at the fifth week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. The $25,000 Alliant Private Client Cup is a weekly occurrence throughout the ten-week long festival and offers jumper riders a great way to get into the Grand Prix ring and get some prize money prior to Saturday’s main event. Piloting six of the original 28 combinations, Ireland’s Jordan Coyle gave himself a strong upper hand to take the winning title, and he did so aboard King Kannan GP. Philipp Schwender (GER) built a proper track for his field and managed to advance 11 of the first round’s field into the jump off. Coyle jumped clear on four of six mounts he had entered which left him with a very busy jump off to prepare for.

“It’s always frustrating for me when someone holds the class up with a lot of horses,” Coyle admitted. “So we tried to do a good job of getting through them quickly.” The victory came down to a battle between Coyle and last week’s winners, Samuel Pegg and Gin Tonic 158, as the only two pairs to clock in a fault-free effort under 40 seconds. Hot on the heels of an impressive podium finish during the $385,000 Fidelity Investments CSI5* Grand Prix in Wellington, Florida last Saturday, Coyle continued on his hot streak to ultimately produce the winning time of 38.55 seconds with Elan Farm’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Kannan). 

“I feel like I’m very lucky at the moment because I have some very exciting horses,” he explained. “Each horse on my string has its own plan, even if they are similar, so I was under a bit of pressure to keep it moving smoothly but I think it worked out. I have ridden so many different horses and ponies since I could walk, that having this many in a class like this doesn’t really affect me. Physically, maybe, but not mentally.” 

Coyle picked up three more ribbons over the course of the prizegiving as he raced into third place with Falkirk Farm, LLC’s nine-year-old KWPN mare, Keep Me With You N.C., and also rode to the ninth and tenth place honors. Pegg settled for second place with his own 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Graftop), landing just over a second slower than Coyle with a time of 39.609 seconds.

Jumper competition started with Wednesday’s $2,500 Vitaflex Open Welcome Stake where Declan Egan and Darkhorse’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Cornet’s Diamond VDL),Kentucky E, managed to produce the only clear round for the win. Action continues on Friday, February 16, with the $15,000 STX Open Speed Series and the hunter’s will take their time to shine in the $5,000 SmartPak USHJA National Hunter Derby and $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby.