Christian Coyle and Locato Van Het Kapelhof Capture $40,000 Hampton Inn Grand Prix at Vermont Summer Festival

East Dorset, VT – July 31, 2022 – A beautiful week of competition under the Green Mountains during Week 4 of the Vermont Summer Festival came to a close with the $40,000 Hampton Inn Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. Top riders vied for the winning honors over the Ken Krome-designed course, and ultimately Ireland’s Christian Coyle and Locato Van Het Kapelhof earned the leading spot on the podium. Coyle also received this week’s Style Award presented by Everleigh Collection.

Coyle and Locato Van Het Kapelhof used experience to their advantage as they added another win to their partnership. “We got him last March and have done a few FEI3* competitions – he has always been really consistent and actually won a few grand prix here last year, so it is nice to come back here and for him to win again,” smiled Coyle. “He’s naturally really fast, so if I stay out of his way and don’t make too many mistakes, he is usually there for me. He’s also done some Medium Junior/Amateur classes with a client, so he is super consistent and just an overall lovely horse.”

Christian Coyle and Locato Van Het Kapelhof. Photo by: Jess Windhurst

The first round of Sunday’s featured class consisted of 14 jumping efforts, including a double and triple combination. Four horses returned for the tie-breaking round, where they raced to the finish, and three were double clear. For the short course, riders began over a tall vertical before tightly rolling back to a wide oxer. Galloping to another tall oxer off a rollback, riders had to carefully complete a one-stride combination before a bending line to the final fence.

“I think it was a great course today for the number of horses – everything rode pretty much the way it walked. Locato is usually a very careful horse and naturally fast, so I wasn’t worried about the time allowed – so I went in there and stuck to my plan and did the numbers and he did everything I asked of him,” added Coyle. “In the jump-off, because he is quick, he doesn’t spend much time in the air, so I was pretty confident that he could produce a fast time to beat.”

Christian Coyle and Locato Van Het Kapelhof. Photo by: Jess Windhurst

Coyle was first to return in the jump-off with his own mount. The duo came in blazing, knowing that three horses were following, and laid down a perfect track that proved to be unbeatable. Their gallop from the start proved instrumental, in addition to their tight rollbacks and efficient track. They raced through the timers in 41.36 seconds – over a second faster than any other jump-off time to lead the lap of honor.

“We love showing here in Vermont – we come every year, the clients love it, the town is welcoming, and it’s just an overall easy and great environment. We will definitely be here again.”

 Marek Luefkens and Ever D’Hoogpoort

The Netherlands’ Marek Luefkens was next with Ever D’Hoogpoort, and while they were able to leave all the rails intact, their conservative pace of 46.83 seconds would only be good enough for third place. Mary Lisa Leffler and Rolling Acres’ Zaza Z were third to return for the jump-off round. They followed a near exact path as Coyle and Leufkens and finished on zero faults yet again, but were nearly two seconds slower than Coyle in 43.29 seconds for second place.

 Mary Lisa Leffler and Zaza Z 

Jumper action at HITS Vermont will continue next week as Week V of the series gets underway. Next week will also host another $40,000 Grand Prix as well as the $10,000 SmartPak Prix, $5,000 MDO Welcome and several jumper classics. Riders will also continue to vie for top spots to capture points for year-end finals, as well as for the M&S League Finals taking place in September.