Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Mexico and USA Top Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior, and Young Rider Grand Prixs; Christina Rogalny and Marvelous Win Engel & Völkers Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″
Wellington, FL – March 6, 2016 – Week eight of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, March 6, with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Red Star d’Argent in the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4*. Riders representing five different countries qualified for the jump-off, with Kenny leading the way for Ireland over Colombia’s Roberto Teran Jr. and Woklahoma in second, and Australia’s Matt Williams aboard Valinski S in third.
The Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children’s, Junior, and Young Rider divisions also concluded the week with their grand prix classes Sunday morning. Mexico’s Luciana Gonzalez Guerra and Zidane won the Children’s Grand Prix, Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro and Golden Horta topped the Junior Grand Prix, and Victoria Colvin (USA) and another Zidane were victorious in the Young Rider Grand Prix.
USA’s Steve Stephens and Ken Krome were the course designers in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) for CSIO week at WEF. In their final competition of the week, Stephens and Krome saw 50 entries in the Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix, with five riders qualifying for the jump-off.
Matt Williams and Wyndmont’s Valinski S were first to qualify, and first to return for the short course, completing the track without fault in the third place time of 45.79 seconds. Roberto Teran, Jr. was next to jump off aboard Ark Partners’ Woklahoma, with another clear round and a faster time of 44.89 to finish second. Next in the ring, Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent clocked the winning time of 42.83 seconds. Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS had one rail down in 46.84 seconds to finish fifth. Last to go, Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark’s Sarena also dropped a rail, but finished in a faster time of 44.43 seconds to place fourth.
Red Star d’Argent is an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (by Quick Star) that Kenny’s Oakland Ventures owns in partnership with Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya. This was the second win of the circuit for the newly paired duo, who also topped the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* during week six competition at The Stadium at PBIEC.
Speaking of their partnership and what he has learned about the gelding over the last several weeks, Kenny remarked, “I am learning that he is a really good horse. He can go anywhere and do anything at the moment. The horse gives me a great feeling every time I jump him; he is getting better and better.
“I was working a lot with the rideability, and getting him confident, and feeling confident with me,” Kenny explained. “Today, I must say he jumped excellent from the word go. He felt super. He feels really happy and he is jumping great. Up until this week I had never even jumped him over the water. I called Sergio on Wednesday and was like, ‘Does he jump the water?’ I must say, I am lucky to have the horse, and Sergio is great. He puts no pressure on me and lets me do what I want with the horse, and it is paying off. He is going to want him back next week!”
Kenny had the opportunity to watch Williams complete his jump-off round before he entered the ring, and had an idea of what he needed to do to get the win.
“I watched Matt go, and Matt’s horse was amazing and he had a super round,” Kenny stated. “I felt that I just wanted to go as fast as I felt comfortable. I know the horse is very fast. I know I did one less stride after the black skinny, and I just had a feeling where I was and that I was up a little bit (on the time). I did not realize I was going as fast as I was, but it ended up being great.”
“He is just a great horse; it does not matter you do with him,” Kenny continued. “You can go fast, slow, deep, long and he just wants to jump the jumps, and that is what a great horse does. He has been stepping up every time. I did not know what he was going to do today. He was very good week six, and I gave him week seven light, and I knew my plan was to gradually build him up towards this grand prix. Right now my plans are working.”
Roberto Teran, Jr. has had his mount, Woklahoma, for three years and continues to earn very consistent results with the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Sheraton x Calvados).
“She has been improving month by month, year by year, and now she is at a point where she is a very good Nations’ Cup horse,” Teran detailed. “She went to the Pan American Games and was outstanding. Our goal is to make it to Rio in good shape. Now it is about good management to get us from here to there in the best condition possible. She is super careful, super serious, and is getting better every day. She is a dream to ride.”
Matt Williams also has his sights set on the Olympic Games in Rio and has a great new partnership with Valinski S, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Nijinski x Julius.
“I have not had him that long. I got him at the beginning of the winter and every time he has gone in a big grand prix, he has been clear or four faults, so he is consistent and giving me a great feeling,” Williams said of his mount. “He jumps with a lot of heart, so at the moment I just have to keep him fresh and hopefully it will keep going to way it is going.”
Speaking of his opening ride in the jump-off, Williams noted, “I have not jumped this grand prix in four years, and the last time I did it, I was first to go in the jump-off as well, but unfortunately there were 12 in the jump-off that time and it did not work out as well. I went out there today with an idea to do as much as I could and leave the jumps up. I got a little bit wide to the last jump. I drifted out a little bit, but I do not think I would have gone any quicker if I was after Darragh. I would not have been able to catch him; his round was as good as it comes.”
Red Star d’Argent’s groom, Nickki O’Donovan, accepted the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, to reward her dedication and hard work as an integral member of the winning team.
Kenny was also presented the Niall Grimes “Cheers” Perpetual Trophy, which is presented each year to the top Irish rider during the CSIO Nations’ Cup week.
Another special award was presented to fellow Irishman Conor Swail. Swail earned the Kate Nash Boone Style Award as the international equestrian who exemplifies best style of riding along with maintaining a sportsmanlike composure while competing in the CSIO Nations’ Cup week at WEF.
Canada’s Tiffany Foster was also presented the award for Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week eight, an award sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Mexico and USA Win Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Grand Prixs
The Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children’s Grand Prix was the first class of the day in the International Ring on Sunday with a win for Mexico’s Luciana Gonzalez Guerra (13) riding H.R.M. Melse’s Zidane.
The class saw 31 entries, and an eight-horse jump-off, with three double clear rounds. Gonzalez Guerra and Zidane completed the fastest clear round over the short course in 39.40 seconds. Madison Hilderman (CAN) and Kenzo placed second with a time of 41.88 seconds, and John Gallagher (IRL) and Sportsfield Eterina, owned by Noel Delahunty and Thomas O’Brien, finished third with their time of 45.01 seconds.
Gonzalez Guerra is from Mexico City and has had her horse Zidane, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Celano x G. Ramiro Z), for two years.
“I could not match with him at first. It was very difficult, but now we are one,” the rider stated. “I started to win everything with him, so I had to bring him to Wellington. He is a very lazy horse, but when you kick him, he just wants to run and you cannot stop him, so it is a little bit difficult.”
This was Gonzalez Guerra’s first time competing in Wellington and she had a great experience, finishing second in the Welcome class on Thursday, winning the Nations’ Cup with her team from Mexico on Saturday, and now finishing out with a win in the grand prix.
Speaking of her strategy for Sunday’s jump-off, Gonzalez Guerra detailed, “My plan was just to not have any knock downs and go as fast as I could to try to win.”
Commenting on her experience in Wellington, she added, “It is amazing. The group was perfect. I did my job, my horse did the job, and my team did the job, so it was great.”
The division also presented a leading rider award to the competitor with the best overall placings in the week’s children’s classes. The award went to Juana Trosch of Argentina riding Emanuel Andrade’s Black Pearl.
The $2,500 Hollow Creek Farm FEI Junior Grand Prix was next to go in the International Ring Sunday morning with another win for Mexico. The junior class saw 28 entries, with a seven-horse jump-off, and four double clear rounds. The win went to Carlos Hank Guerreiro aboard Eurohorse BVBA’s Golden Horta with the fastest time of 30.01 seconds.
Also riding for Mexico, Mauricio Huesca Perez finished second riding Mauricio Huesca Bustamante’s Adermie PP through the timers in 30.86 seconds. Ireland’s Conor McMahon finished third in a time of 31.13 seconds aboard Pine Hollow Farm’s Casinjo Ex Z. Canada’s Jennifer Mattell rode Joe Mattell’s Cherokee ET to fourth place honors in 31.97 seconds.
For his success throughout the week, Guerreiro earned the leading rider award for the junior division. He and Golden Horta also placed fourth in the Welcome class on Thursday.
The 15-year-old rider, from Mexico City, trains with Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and has been competing at WEF since the beginning of the circuit in January. His mount, Golden Horta, is a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood by Lord Z x For Pleasure.
Commenting on his win and a great week of competition, Guerreiro stated, “I am really happy. We have been here since the beginning of the winter, and I have just been training up to this weekend with my horse and he has been jumping great. All weekend he jumped really good; I felt confident, and I am really happy.”
“He is a little hot,” Guerreiro said of his mount. “You have to be patient with him. In the warm-up he is a little crazy. He is special, but then when he gets in the ring, he gets concentrated and then he jumps his best always.”
Commenting on the jump-off, Guerreiro detailed, “This jump-off did not have a lot of space to run. It was tight turns and you just had to make the most of the spaces you got. To the second to last jump, and the last jump, you just had to go all out.”
This was Guerreiro’s third year coming to Wellington to compete in the Hollow Creek Farm Series. He won the gold medal with team Mexico in the 2014 Children’s Nations’ Cup and also showed on the junior team in 2015.
“It is great experience for bigger Nations’ Cups later on,” Guerreiro acknowledged. “It is a fun weekend with your team. It is always good and I like it very much.”
The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm FEI Young Rider Grand Prix concluded the 2016 series with a win for USA’s Victoria Colvin. The Young Rider Grand Prix saw 13 competitors, with six advancing to the jump-off, and four double clear rounds. For the win, Colvin and Springfield Showjumpers’ Zidane were last to go on the short course, completing the track in 34.97 seconds.
Fernanda Rodriguez de Haene (MEX) and Fernando Rodriguez Cerdan’s Teuz DLN Liban finished second in 35.11 seconds. Cormac Hanley (IRL) and Missy Clark and Stephex Stables’ Twan placed third in 38.88 seconds, and Giulia del Canton Scampini (BRA) and Constantino Scampini’s Keep on Fighting finished fourth in a time of 39.67.
Colvin and Zidane made a clean sweep of the Young Rider classes this year, winning the Welcome class on Thursday, topping the Nations’ Cup with Team USA on Saturday night, and finally winning the closing grand prix. For her success, she was also presented the young rider’s leading rider award for the week.
Colvin (18), of Loxahatchee, FL, watched the very fast round of Fernanda Rodriguez de Haene before entering the ring for her jump-off, and was not sure if she could beat it.
“I had watched on the Jumbotron and then I saw the horse galloping by the in gate and I was like, ‘Yeah, there is probably no way I can beat that,'” Colvin admitted. “But I went in there and I was like, ‘Well, Zidane, we are gonna go.’ I have not done too many jump-offs with him, but he was really game for it, so we just went for it.”
Colvin has been riding Zidane, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sam R x Calvados), throughout this year’s Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series at WEF.
“It has gone well so far; he has been a great horse,” Colvin stated. “He is basically like a hunter. You do not really want to touch his mouth. You just leg him at the base of the jumps.”
Speaking of her experience competing in the Hollow Creek Farm Series for the first time this year with such great success, Colvin stated, “Yesterday was a fantastic opportunity. I did not show in the second round to save him for this class, but it was amazing to go in the first round and for him to put in a clear, and to know that you got a clear round for your country was really amazing.”
Christina Rogalny and Marvelous Top the Engel & Volkers Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″
Christina Rogalny piloted Marvelous, a sixteen-year-old Oldenburg gelding, to the Engel & Volkers Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″ division championship honors this Sunday afternoon. A competitive field of twenty-eight horse and rider combinations battled it out for the tricolor honors, but Rogalny and her catch-ride Marvelous, who is owned by Maarten Huygens, came out on top. The duo won three of the four over fences classes and placed second in another. They also earned the blue ribbon in the under saddle class.
Rogalny, of Wellington, FL, has a great deal of experience catch-riding horses. “I usually catch-ride because I don’t own a horse or pony of my own,” Rogalny commented. Her experience paid off with new mount Marvelous, who she rode for the first time this week.
“I rode him in a schooling class on Friday and then showed him this weekend,” Rogalny said. “He was great; he was awesome!”
“He’s a really good horse,” Rogalny commented. “His trainer told me he’s been all around the world and done a lot of things, but now he’s older and they wanted him to do a few little classes to see how it would go with a smaller kid.”
Trained by Ali Sweetnam and the team at Sweet Oak Farm, Rogalny enjoys a lot of success catch-riding different horses each week. She especially enjoyed riding Marvelous for owner Maarten Huygens. “He’s actually pretty easy, but he’s a little spooky sometimes on the ends of the ring. That was a little hard, but overall he was really good,” she smiled.
Rogalny has been around horses her entire life. “My mom always rode as a kid, so we had a barn when we were younger. Riding was in the family,” she commented.
As a full-time resident of Wellington, she does not have to commute each weekend to compete at WEF. “It’s great; I get to show all circuit!” the 15-year-old freshman of King’s Academy School exclaimed.
Rogalny currently competes in numerous classes each week at WEF. “I show in a lot of the pony divisions and also the equitation classes. I do the THIS medal and the 12-14 equitation,” she stated. Rogalny hopes to qualify for indoors this year and she also aspires to move-up to compete in some of the bigger classes. “I want to go to indoors and do the big equitation and the bigger hunter classes.”
The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its ninth week of competition sponsored by Douglas Elliman on March 9-13, 2016, featuring CSI 5* jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter divisions. The week’s highlight event is the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* on Saturday night, March 12. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.