The week marked the first outing for the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare since September. The penultimate pair to contest the six-horse jump-off, Coyle and Cita posted a time that could not be beaten, crossing the timers of Peter Holmes’ (CAN) shortened 1.50m track in 38.03 seconds. First to go in the jump-off, Karrie Rufer (USA) and Georgine d’Auvray EC finished second (39.93 seconds), and Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Picador were third (40.85 seconds).
Patricio Pasquel (MEX), winner of Friday’s $235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix, had Coyle’s time with Pomerol, but the duo pulled a rail halfway through the track to finish fifth.
“If you asked her for everything, she’ll always give it to you,” Coyle said of Cita, “but I knew I had Patricio behind me, and he was going to be very fast. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll be as fast as I can,’ but at the same time, she has to have a lot of fun. She’s that age. She’s not that old, but she’s older, and if a horse that’s older doesn’t enjoy herself, she’s not going to have much time left.”
Coyle identified his mount’s stride and their track between the jump-off’s first two fences as the keys to victory.
“I had [Irish Chef d’Equipe] Michael Blake at the gate, and he said that I could do eight strides on a straight [path] from [fences] one to two,” Coyle explained. “Once I had that done, the rest of the round was just about being neat and tidy. [Cita] is incredibly quick anyway. She has such a big stride for a smaller horse. I didn’t really see Karrie and wasn’t sure if beat her, but I’m happy!”
Knowing his mount’s talent, Coyle is carefully mapping out Cita’s return to a 100-percent fitness level.
“I didn’t expect her to come back so quickly the way she has,” he said. “She feels incredible and probably as good as she has in the last year. I won’t push her too much now.”