Tag Archives: Darragh Kenny

Darragh Kenny Out with a Bang in $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*

Darragh Kenny and Scarlett du Sart Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 14, 2020 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny scored a victory in the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday, March 14, to conclude a banner season at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a track for 45 starters with 12 advancing to the tie-breaking jump-off. Returning near the end of the jump-off round, Kenny and Scarlett du Sart Z, owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC, broke the timers in 33.54 seconds to claim the lead and bump Israel’s Sydney Shulman into the runner-up position. Shulman and J-Boston S.E, a horse she owns together with her mother Jill, posted a time of 33.96 seconds.

“I’ve been very lucky – I had a good winter and all the horses went very well,” said Kenny of his season at WEF. “I had a great feeling coming into this winter because I have an incredible group of horses, and I’m very lucky that I have those horses.”

Kenny got the ride on Scarlett du Sart Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare (Stakkato de hann x First Bride), during the horse’s seven-year-old year. He has high hopes for the mare’s future, saying, “This is a mare that Teddy Vlock and his owner bought for me, and we’ve been slowly producing her. She’s really starting to turn a corner, and I think she’s an incredibly talented horse that will end up jumping at the highest level.”

Sofia Maskowitz and Samantha Takacs Ride to Top Honors in THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under

Equitation riders took on Ring 6 on Saturday morning to compete for the blue ribbon in the THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under class. Due to the large number of entries, the medal was held in a California Split format with Sofia Maskowitz and Samantha Takacs riding to the top of the class. Maskowitz rode Quantum Chanel to a first-round high score of 84 and remained in the lead during the test. Takacs and her mount Cooper moved up one spot during the test, after a first-round score of 82.

Maskowitz, of Freehold, NH, has been partnered with her equitation mount, Quantum Chanel, for only a couple months. The pair, trained by Laura Bowery, stayed on top of the class through the first round of 44 entries and the test. Maskowitz described that she is still working on figuring out the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Quality, so she was extremely pleased with her first round.

Takacs, of Oldwick, NJ, and her horse Cooper also put in two consistent rounds in the medal to earn the blue ribbon in their section. The duo has been working together since last spring, with the help of New Hope, LLC as well as Findlay’s Ridge, LLC. Takacs loves the eight-year-old KWPN gelding’s big stride and sweet personality.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Darragh Kenny Claims Win for Ireland in Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSIO4*

Darragh Kenny and Carthano. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 27, 2020 – Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Carthano cruised to victory in the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 CSIO4* on Thursday, February 27, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Thursday’s featured Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup was run as a one-round speed class, with 60 entries contesting the course set by the USA’s Ken Krome.

When Kenny entered the ring as one of the final five riders to compete, the time to beat had been set at 64.39 seconds by the USA’s Andrew Ramsay and Stranger 30. The pair had held the lead for three-quarters of the class, but Kenny and his new partner, Carthano, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC, overtook them with a time of 63.67 seconds, ultimately securing Kenny the victory. Ramsay and Stranger 30, owned by the Stranger Group, finished in second, while third place with a time of 64.62 seconds went to the USA’s Lucas Porter and Diamonte Darco, owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC.

“I think I was running very fast – faster than I expected actually!” said Kenny of what helped him secure the win. “I don’t really know [Carthano] that well yet, and he has a much bigger stride than I thought.”

Melissa Feller Rides In Love to Performance Hunter 3’3” Championship

The Performance Hunter 3’3” division, sponsored by FarmVet, came to a close on Thursday with Melissa Feller and In Love earning the championship title. Feller piloted In Love to two firsts, two seconds, and an eighth place.

In Love is a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding that both Fellers and Jennifer Bauersachs share the ride on. He was purchased from Emil Spadone and is currently owned by Meritage Stables LLC. Feller enjoys riding In Love because he is very brave and “perfect to the jumps.”

“He’s really fun to jump,” said Fellers. “He has a great feel in the air. His canter is also something that is especially nice about him.”

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Kenny Tops Star-Studded Field in Wellington

Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Classic Dream. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

In a field that included four former Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champions, both sub league leaders in the North American League, and the World’s top ranked rider, it was World No. 8 Darragh Kenny (IRL) that shined brightest in the $213,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington (USA) at Deeridge Farms.

Kenny and Classic Dream took home a victory and 20 crucial qualifying points toward the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, set for Las Vegas (USA) in April. The duo crossed the timers with a comfortable winning margin, recording a final time of 36.70 seconds. Cassio Rivetti (BRA) finished second aboard Bacara d’Archonfosse with a time of 38.29 seconds, while Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue finished third. That duo’s time was 39.00 seconds.

“He was fantastic. He jumped unbelievably. He’s such an incredible horse because he’s so simple to ride. He just wants to jump the jumps clear, and today he was super.” — Darragh Kenny (USA)

Despite the accomplished nature of the field, just three combinations were able to navigate a clear first round to advance to the jump-off of Alan Wade’s (IRL) course, and all three repeated the feat in the jump-off. Last to go of the trio, Kenny confidently rode his mount straight to the top of the leaderboard, a reflection of his belief in his horse.

“We always felt he was a top grand prix horse and [that] he could go to the highest level,” Kenny explained. “I think he’s only starting to show that now. He was incredible as a 7-year-old [and as] an 8-year-old, [but] he had a bit of a rough last year — a few little mistakes here and there getting used to the height. Now, this year he started out fantastic. I think in the future, he’ll be one of the best horses in the world.”

Kenny is registered with the Western European League, and his 20 points moved him into 10th in those standings with 45 points. On the North American League east coast, Beezie Madden (USA) moved to the top of the standings with a sixth-place finish aboard Breitling LS. She now has 59 points. Brian Moggre (USA) sits second with 56 points, while Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) is third with 46 points. The top seven in the east coast standings all jumped at Wellington.

On the west coast, Karl Cook (USA) remains atop the standings with 58 points, but Rivetti moved into second and now has 46 points. Ashlee Bond (ISR) is third in the standings with 39 points.

The North American League continues in Leon (MEX) on 8 February 2020.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Full Speed Ahead on Race Night at Olympia

Race Night returned to Olympia, The London International Horse Show on day five of the Show, with fast and furious action throughout.

The Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund saw Bridget Andrews’ team of girls beat their male counterparts, including Sir AP McCoy, as a selection of the country’s best jockeys tested their mettle over show jumps. There was further racing action from The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National, which saw wins for Zak Kent on Briar Smokey Joe and Lucas Murphy riding Cranford Fantastic.

The afternoon performance kicked off with the opening FEI Driving World Cup Leg presented by Eurofip International and, in a repeat of last year, it was Australia’s Boyd Exell who dominated proceedings, thus heading into the second session in pole position.

In Show Jumping, The Father Christmas Stakes, an accumulator class, was won by home favourite William Funnell, with the main class of the day, The Longines Christmas Cracker, going to Ireland’s Darragh Kenny.

The competition was fierce in the FEI Driving World Cup Leg presented by Eurofip International, with drivers aiming to gain maximum points towards their FEI World Cup Final qualification.

First to go was Britain’s Daniel Naprous, whose fast driving has impressed many on the circuit; however, on this occasion 16 seconds to add took him out of contention. Boyd Exell was next into the arena, driving the clean skillful lines for which he is renowned, putting the pressure on those to come.

Jozsef Dobrovitz of Hungary could not match the speed of Exell, but tactical driving kept a clean slate and a good finish at 143.83. Koos de Ronde (NED) took a slick no-nonsense approach to the first course and slotted just behind Exell on 136.49, with last to go, Chester Weber (USA), driving very fast and cleanly to finish third and progress into the drive-off.

An uncharacteristic early error from Weber in the second round resulted in elimination and an enforced third place. Koos de Ronde came in meaning business, but his horses could not catch the speed merchant Exell, whose total score was six seconds ahead of his rivals.

Boyd said: “We went very fast, but the whole team is integral to the success. My navigator and long-time groom Emma Olsson was really important as the course had many twists and turns and, of course, Hugh Scott-Barrett as backstep ensures we get through the cones cleanly. I am happy, but we all work hard to make it happen.”

It was a night for the girls as the female jockeys’ team trounced their male counterparts in an exhilarating battle for the Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. The contest had the packed Olympia audience roaring with excitement as the two teams of five got to grips with borrowed horses and unfamiliar knock-down fences against the clock.

The girls’ team, coached on the night by eventer Pippa Funnell and captained by Bridget Andrews, reversed last year’s result and got off to a brilliant start when Lizzie Kelly flew around clear, including at the final joker fence. Josephine Gordon was fastest of the team, eventually taking second place in the individual rankings behind Jim Crowley, who restored male pride with a flying round.

Nicola Currie also put up a terrific performance and both Bryony Frost, on an enchanting dun Connemara, and team captain Bridget Andrews put in some audacious turns, making up for rails down with their speed. “The girls really performed this year on horses they’ve never sat on,” said Andrews, who married opposing team member Harry Skelton in the summer.

By the time the men’s captain, 20-time National Hunt champion jockey AP McCoy, entered the arena it was all over – which was perhaps just as well, as his mount proved a testing ride.

“The girls were so stylish – they knocked the boys for six and Josephine Gordon was on fire,” said a visibly delighted Pippa Funnell.

“It’s something different and gets the adrenaline going,” said Gordon, “and the fact that we won makes it even better.”

Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper Nick Skelton, who may have some words after his son Harry hit the final joker, admitted that the girls’ speed had his lads on the back foot, “but it was great fun and all in a good cause.”

Britain’s William Funnell scored a thrilling win in The Father Christmas Stakes with Denise Stamp’s Cevin Z gelding Billy McCain. The accumulator competition, in which points are gained for each fence jumped clear and a final optional joker fence carrying double points, encouraged risk taking moves throughout, with the joker catching out many of the fastest riders.

“The crowds love fast classes,” said William. “A lot of riders will be looking for the bigger tracks, so a class like this is a good middle ground.”

Of the 32 starters, 13 remained faultless to collect a maximum of 65 points, and although William hadn’t seen some of the fastest go, he clipped almost a second from the previous best time set by Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro aboard Santiago de Blondel.

“He’s normally in with a chance,” said William of the 11-year-old grey. “He’s careful, and it is nice to have a quick horse to bring along to a Show like this.”

Darragh Kenny became the third Irishman to win the big evening class at Olympia when scooping the Longines Christmas Cracker on his exciting Tokyo Olympic prospect Classic Dream. Kenny was the fastest rider in a thrilling eight-man jump-off, beating the Netherlands’ Bart Bles on Gin D by 1.27 seconds.

William Whitaker’s great show continued with equal third place on RMF Echo with Austria’s Max Kühner on Cornet Kalua, ahead of British young rider Harry Charles, who put up a spirited challenge on Borsato, but had a fence down and finished fifth.

Earlier this year, Kenny was third on the nine-year-old Classic Dream behind Ben Maher and the season’s equine phenomenon Explosion W at the London leg of the GCT tour; this was no mean achievement and his rider admits that he is quietly excited about the chestnut gelding’s prospects.

“I’ve known for a couple of years that he was a proper grand prix horse,” explained Kenny, who will ride Classic Dream in Sunday night’s Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “He’s still quite green, but he was exceptional in this jump-off, really picking up, and he’s a horse for the future. He seems to like London anyway!

“I know him inside out and have always thought that he’s a Tokyo horse. He’s a little bit quirky, but he always wants to win.”

Kenny is now seventh on the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, which is led by Britain’s William Whitaker from Holly Smith. The remarkably consistent Michael Jung from Germany, whose first discipline is eventing, is now in third place from Ben Maher, but all could change in the showpiece Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier.

There was further action from The Voltaire Design Under 25 Championship Qualifier, from which the top 10 riders qualified for the Final on Sunday evening. Georgia Tame rode two immaculate clear rounds to come out on top. “Everyone wants to win this,” said Tame, 22, of the prestigious contest that helped launch former World No. 1 Scott Brash on his path to fame.

She rode with admirable tact on Quintella, a mare that’s talented but clearly not the easiest to handle. “She certainly has her own way of going; you can’t argue with her,” said Tame, having taken over the ride from Shane Breen, with whom she has been based for the past five years.

Only four of the field of 24 went through to the jump-off, with Oliver Fletcher riding Temple Rebus in the only other double clear, finishing in second. Charlie Jones, who is trained by his uncle, Nick Skelton, and Laura Kraut was third on Dexter and Harry Charles was fourth on Valkiry de Zance.

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Double Delight as Whitaker and Pender Share Puissance Spoils

The third day of action at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, welcomed the world’s best show jumpers to Olympia Grand. Seven of the top ten riders attended, with Britain’s Holly Smith getting the Show off to a flying start by taking the opening class, The Welcome Stakes, by the narrowest of margins from compatriot Laura Renwick.

The Cayenne Puissance had the sell-out crowd on their feet, with William Whitaker and Michael Pender taking joint honours, both clearing a remarkable 2.18 metres (7ft 2in) in the fifth round. Earlier in the day Darragh Kenny scored an impressive victory in The Santa Stakes supported by Olympia, while reigning European Champion Martin Fuchs sped to victory in the Musto Inside Edge Stakes.

An elite line-up of top show jumpers also took centre stage alongside their junior counterparts in The Aztec Diamond Pony Club Mini-Major. The pairs relay was a fiercely fought contest, with Norway’s Karina Hovland, partnered with Essex Hunt North Pony Club’s Laila Ramaci, coming out eventual winners. Nine-year-old Laila was very modest about her round with Dinky, but Karina was quick to offer praise to her young partner, saying, “Actually, you were really rather quick to the last!”

Two of the most stylish young riders on the circuit topped the results list in equal first place after a quality Cayenne Puissance competition which, for the second year running, went to a thrilling fifth and final round. The familiar face of Britain’s William Whitaker and Michael Pender, an Irishman making his Olympia debut, both cleared the famously imposing wall at 7ft 2in.

Last year’s joint winner, Guy Williams on the big grey Mr Blue Sky UK, also made it to the final round but knocked a brick out of the wall on his last attempt.

An elated Whitaker’s result was all the more credible as it was a first Puissance for Rushy Marsh Farm LLC’s 10-year-old RMF Charly. “I was a bit apprehensive, but the crowd lifts you and it feels as if you have another person on your back,” he said.

“I’m over the moon with the horse. He’s got a nice active canter and he just got better and better. He’s quite a character at home – a right Charlie, in fact.”

At 10 years younger than Whitaker, 20-year-old Pender clearly has a bright future. Having ridden since a child at his parents’ riding school in Co Kilkenny, he sprang into the limelight when he won the Hickstead Derby on Paul van den Bosch’s magnificent 12-year-old stallion Hearton du Bois Halleux.

“It’s a pleasure to ride a horse like that,” said Pender. “It makes your job a lot easier. Everything you ask him he’ll do. He was a bit tense at first, but then he improved with each round.”

The opening CSI5* class, The Welcome Stakes (1.40m), saw a British one-two with Holly Smith and Flipper Darco UK Z taking the victory by just 0.03 seconds from Laura Renwick aboard Bintang II. Germany’s Olympic Eventing Champion Michael Jung, competing at Olympia this week with his show jumping hat on, finished close behind in third place, riding the eight-year-old Dante RZ.

The feature class of the day, The Santa Stakes supported by Olympia (1.55m), provided top-class sport with the world’s best show jumping combinations competing for the €27,000 prize fund.  The first of the 10 riders through to the jump-off was Britain’s Holly Smith with her European Team Bronze Medal winning horse Heart’s Destiny who set the pace with a clear round in a time of 35.29 seconds.

William Whitaker followed with a smooth and speedy clear in a time of 34.45, putting the pressure on those to follow, but an exceptionally tight turn to the penultimate fence gave Darragh Kenny the advantage at the half-way stage. Those that followed valiantly tried to catch the Irishman but picked up faults on the way, with Kenny’s time proving impossible to catch, giving him the victory for the second successive year, this time aboard the 11-year-old Important de Muze.

Speaking after the class, Kenny said: “It’s such a great show here. I really like coming here every year; the crowd is always amazing and to start off with a win is really nice. I didn’t get to see William’s round, but I know my horse is quite careful and just went as fast as I could, which proved good enough today.”

The Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a 1.50m speed class, saw World No. 1 Steve Guerdat take an early lead riding Victorio des Frotards, jumping clear in a time of 55.42 seconds to set the pace. The notoriously fast Guy Williams pulled out all the stops aboard his 12-year-old gelding Cupido to take over the lead, crossing the line in 54.83 seconds, a time which proved good enough for second place.

Britain’s leading lady Holly Smith looked to place Williams’ lead in jeopardy, making an extremely tight turn back to the Houses of Parliament wall at fence four; however, her final time of 55.29 put her in eventual third position.

It was the reigning European Champion Martin Fuchs, fresh from Grand Prix victory in Geneva last weekend, who verified his World No. 2 credentials with an exceptionally smooth round, cutting all the corners to take the victory by over one second, posting a time of 53.47 with the talented 10-year-old grey mare Chica B Z.

A delighted Fuchs said: “It’s really nice to be here; it doesn’t feel like hard work and it’s a great Christmas feeling. Chica is quite experienced and is used to making tight turns so I didn’t have to do too much today.”

It was also a great night for young rider Emily Moffitt, who was presented with the Raymond Brooks-Ward Memorial Trophy, an award for the British under-25 rider who has shown the greatest potential for future success in that calendar year.

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Darragh Kenny Wins $36k Free x Rein Int’l Jumper Welcome Speed CSI4* Costume Class at NHS

Darragh Kenny on Billy Dorito.

Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 30, 2019 – Donning festive costumes to celebrate the Halloween season, 57 horse-and-rider partnerships representing 10 nations tested their footspeed Wednesday evening in the $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI4*, the first show jumping class of the 2019 National Horse Show. Ranked No. 9 in the world based on the Longines FEI standings, Darragh Kenny (IRL) proved why he deserves that distinction with a rapid navigation of the course with the reins on Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Billy Dorito, besting a field comprised of riders in guises such as the Flintstones, Toy Story characters and the Joker, among many other inventive outfits.

Operating under a one-round speed format, the class challenged exhibitors to be quick and careful over designer Ken Krome’s (USA) 13-effort track, which ultimately only saw a total of 26 clear rounds from the initial start list. Riding first in the order, Katie Dinan (USA) and Brego R’N B wasted no time as the first pair to successfully tackle the course without incurring any faults, serving as the trailblazers and setting the standard at 72.46 seconds. Just a few trips later still early in the order of go, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) substantially improved upon his peer’s time, slicing across the course and tripping the timers in 64.11 seconds aboard Karlin Van’t Vennehof to propel themselves to the early lead.

Amazingly trimming even more time off the clock, Daniel Coyle (IRL) and CHS Krooze maneuvered the pattern at a breakneck pace, galloping across the finish line almost ten full seconds faster in 53.80 seconds. Their time would not hold for long though, as fellow Irishman Kenny jockeyed Billy Dorito to the slightly faster time of 53.74 seconds, capturing the lead by mere milliseconds as the 16th duo in the order. More than 40 subsequent contenders, which featured costumes such as jockeys, a judge, Mario and Luigi, multiple generations of Madonna and more, chased down the frontrunners over the remainder of the class, but the swift speed put forth by Kenny and Billy Dorito proved uncatchable, solidifying the Irish partnership as the 2019 winners of the $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI4*. Dressed as a skeleton, Coyle retained second position with his own CHS Krooze, and Andy Kocher (USA) jumped to the final podium spot aboard Eye Candy Jumpers’ Fashion V, breaking the beam in 54.070 seconds as Freddie Mercury and his golden steed.

Appropriately outfitted for the Kentucky crowd, Sloane Coles (USA) dressed as a bottle of bourbon for her ride aboard Calisto 26. Going all out with a body suit and cut-out photos of the famous Kentucky liquor, she was awarded the Best Costume Award for her creative efforts.

Scott Stewart and Becky Gochman Reign Supreme

Wednesday morning at the 136th annual National Horse Show brought top hunter horse-and-rider combinations to the Alltech Arena of the Kentucky Horse Park. As the oldest indoor horse show in the United States, the National Horse Show has earned a permanent spot on the calendars of many elite professionals and amateurs who make the trip from far and wide to vie for the titles and perpetual trophies up for grabs each year. Following Tuesday’s start to the hunter divisions, the first round of championship honors was awarded for the 2019 National Horse Show on Wednesday. Of the contenders, it was Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador, piloted by Scott Stewart, who received the Grand Champion Professional Hunter title. Stewart also went on to claim the Leading Hunter Rider trophy for his 13th time, while Becky Gochman and Catch Me earned the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter trophy, walking away with the iconic black cooler embroidered with the National Horse Show historic emblem.

Stewart and Lucador have a long-standing history of excellence together. After years of accumulating tricolor ribbons across the nation, the pair earned their final Grand Champion Professional Hunter title in their last show together. Stewart and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding earned their points in the High Performance Hunter division, taking top three placings in all of the over fences classes and first in the under saddle class over the course of the two days, resulting in their championship honors in the division. Lucador’s name is already etched on the Grand Champion Hunter Trophy four times, adding his name once again to the coveted centerpiece in 2019 for the fifth time. The talented horse will go on to compete in the Junior 3’3” Hunters 15 and Under with Maddie Tosh, a transition that is bittersweet for Stewart as their successful partnership comes to a close.

During the awards ceremony, Stewart was once again invited back to the arena for the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider Award for the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy. Phenomenally, this was Stewart’s thirteenth time placing his name on the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy, which was originally donated by Mr. and the late Mrs. Kenneth Wheeler. The well-known hunter rider accumulated his points towards the trophy with a whopping seven horses, including Everwonder, Cabrio, Critics’ Choice, Lucador, Private Life, Catch Me, and Cameo.

Also returning competitors to the National Horse Show, Gochman and Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, clinched the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title for the “Ruxton & Scot To Do” Challenge Trophy. The pair made a clean sweep in the Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter 36+ division, winning every single class for a perfect 40 points. This is Gochman and the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding’s second year in a row securing the Ellen Van Dyke-donated trophy. With “Snoopy,” Gochman has found much success in the Amateur divisions across the country, most recently taking Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Champion at the Washington International Horse show.

To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.

Irish Take 2019 Title and Tokyo Qualifying Spot

(L to R) Paul O’Shea, Peter Moloney, Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa, Darragh Kenny, and Cian O’Connor. (FEI/Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2019 came to thrilling climax, and it was Irish eyes that were smiling when Rodrigo Pessoa’s team of Peter Moloney, Paul O’Shea, Darragh Kenny, and Cian O’Connor clinched victory in fine style. Completing with just a single time fault, they pinned the defending champions from Belgium into runner-up spot while Sweden lined up in third. And to put the icing on the Irish cake, they also collected the Olympic qualifying spot they have been craving for a very long time.

Brilliant course-building by Spain’s Santiago Varela, who will also be presenting the tracks in Tokyo next summer, ensured another nail-biting afternoon during which it was impossible to predict the destiny of the coveted series trophy until the very last moment. But the Irish had already booked their Tokyo tickets before anchorman O’Connor went into the ring.

A single mistake from pathfinder Moloney and Chianti’s Champion at the massive triple combination three from home was followed by a superb clear from O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu. So when Kenny and Balou du Reventon collected just that single time fault then the road to Tokyo was already closed to their rivals from Colombia and Italy.

And then O’Connor turned a great day into an amazing one with a foot-perfect run from PSG Final because that put pressure on the Belgians for the Longines series title. The newly crowned European champions posted clears from Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Extra) and Jerome Guery (Quel Homme de Hus) and were looking good for their second victory in a row. One more clean run from anchorman Gregory Wathelet and MJT Nevados would clinch it because they could drop the unlucky four picked up by Niels Bruynseels and Jenson van’t Meulenhof at the very last fence. But, to gasps of disbelief from the crowd, Wathelet’s stallion uncharacteristically ducked out at the penultimate vertical, so Bruynseels’ four had to be counted and that would only be good enough for second place.

“We had a very clear objective coming here; the riders were super-focused and the horses were in great shape. Today we expected a very tough fight from Italy and Colombia who were our direct opponents (for Tokyo qualification), but as it happened, we were also holding strong against the big countries like Belgium and others. People sometimes don’t realise the pressure the riders are under to bring this qualification home. The weight of their country was on their shoulders; it was a big ask from them and to do it in the style they did it – hats off to them!”– Rodrigo Pessoa (Chef d’Equipe Team Ireland)

O’Connor, a member of the last Olympic team fielded by Ireland in Athens (GRE) in 2004, pointed out that the Longines title was always in their sights this week.  “Our aim was to win this trophy all along; obviously the Olympic qualification was also our goal, but you don’t come here just to qualify – we came here to win, and by doing so we got the bonus of qualification!” he said. And the team honoured one of the members of that 2004 Irish side, Kevin Babington, who finished individually fourth with the great Carling King that year and who experienced a life-changing accident four weeks ago, by wearing armbands bearing his name this week.

Pessoa was delighted with the spirit shown by his riders. “With teams there are good days and bad days… there’s a lot of chemistry, but the most important thing is that on the day it really counts, everyone sticks together and pulls the same way. People can leave their personal issues on the side and really pull for the country and that’s what happened here. I’m really proud of what they did today!”

Kenny said he realised how important his ride was. “I was a bit nervous going in the ring but I’m very lucky. I’ve an incredible horse; he’s absolutely amazing and he tried so hard. On Thursday he jumped an incredible clear and today I was just trying to make sure I left all the jumps up. Unfortunately, Santi [Santiago Varela, course designer] told me that I was the only person to get a time fault! My goal coming here was to try and do a double-clear, to try and get Ireland to Tokyo – that was the most important thing, and I’m glad I could be part of this great team. We were all fighting together; that was the most important thing,” he added.

That one time fault cost him a share of the €100,000 bonus for double-clear rounds that instead was divided between Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts and Germany’s Daniel Deusser.

There was a great sense of satisfaction for Pessoa. “We already had two disciplines qualified (Dressage and Eventing) but it’s been a long time since Ireland, a great equestrian nation, has been at the Olympics Games in showjumping and it was this team’s responsibility to bring it home. That for me was the most stressful thing today, to feel what they felt and how hard it must have been for them to ride in those conditions. They had such a great mental attitude – nothing could have stopped them from achieving what they did. I was called in a few years ago to do a job (achieve Olympic Jumping qualification) so now it’s mission accomplished!” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Darragh Kenny Continues Streak to Win $35k Commonwealth Grand Prix with Scarlett Du Sart Z

Photo: Darragh Kenny and Scarlett Du Sart Z.

Lexington, Ky. – May 12, 2019 – The Kentucky Spring Horse Show closed out in the Rolex Stadium on Sunday with the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. With 44 starters challenging each other, it was Darragh Kenny that once again could not be beat in the jump-off, this time winning with Vlock Show Stables’ Scarlett Du Sart Z. Kenny also walked away with the Leading Open Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Envisian Products, after accumulating the most points through his top placings in the Welcome Speed, Hagyard Lexington Classic, Kentucky Spring Grand Prix, and Sunday’s grand prix.

Abigail McArdle and Cade Capture $15,000 Under 25 Grand Prix

Earlier in the day, the $15,000 Under 25 Grand Prix took place in the Rolex Stadium, giving up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to try their hand at the 1.40m and 1.50m height. Twenty-five athletes entered the class hoping to walk away with the winning title, but it was Abigail McArdle and her longtime partner Cade who took the top prize. The 16 effort track proved tricky for some competitors with both time and jumping faults playing a role in the day’s challenges. Only three competitors returned for the jump-off, Delaney Flynn, Tanimara Macari, and McArdle.

Havens Schatt Is Spectacular to Win $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Sunday competition highlighted top hunter horses in the Stonelea Ring with the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance where Havens Schatt and Spectacular claimed the win.

Jeff Gogul Maintains $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Title

Preceding Sunday’s international derby, the Stonelea Ring saw 25 horse-and-rider combinations contest the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows, the first of 15 World Equestrian Center/Kentucky Horse Shows USHJA National Hunter Derby Series events, where Jeff Gogul defended his title to once again claimed the victory, this time aboard Counselor.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Darragh Kenny Takes Top Two Spots in 1.45m Open Jumpers at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Photo: Darragh Kenny and Christos.

Lexington, Ky. – May 10, 2019 – The Kentucky Spring Horse Show opened Friday morning competition in the Rolex Stadium with the $5,000 1.45m Open Jumpers, where 38 horse-and-rider combinations contested Anderson Lima’s (BRA) 13-effort track. The top contenders advanced to the second round, but none could catch Ireland’s Darragh Kenny, who rode the quickest double-clear rounds for the top two spots aboard Christos and Sweet Tricia, respectively.

Emily White and Scandeek Seal Win in Ariat National Adult Medal

Hunter competition kicked off in the Claiborne Ring, starting with the Ariat National Adult Medal on Friday. Eleven amateur athletes entered the ring with their mounts attempting to earn the highest score. At the end of competition, however, it was Emily White and her own Scandeek who claimed the blue ribbon.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Star-Studded List to Compete at Longines Masters of New York

New York, NY – Thirteen Olympians and four of the top-ten riders in the world will ascend on the northeastern United States for the Longines Masters of New York, running April 25 through 28, 2019, at NYCB LIVE, Home of the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.

The Longines Masters of New York features the 2019 edition of the Longines Grand Prix of New York and the fourth leg of the innovative Riders Masters Cup, which pits Riders Europe and Riders USA teams against each other in multi-phase transatlantic duels. All the action will be made even better with decorated riders representing 12 countries across the globe coming to New York with their very best equine athletes to compete.

From world No. 2 rider McLain Ward and four-time Olympian Beezie Madden of The United States to former world-ranking leader Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands and Darragh Kenny of Ireland, equestrian powerhouses will turn out in full force for the Longines Masters of New York. But they will be contested by some of the sport’s rising stars in Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts, France’s Edward Levy, and Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, as well as Adrienne Sternlicht, Lillie Keenan, and Jennifer Gates of The United States.

See The Masters One Riders.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jennifer@jumpmediallc.com