Farrington and Gazelle Gallop to Victory in $86k Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Sherri Geddes and Geddaway Top the Farmvet Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section B

Wellington, FL – March 27, 2016 – Week 11 of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, March 27, featuring the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, held on the derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). For the second week in a row, the 1.50m win went to USA’s Kent Farrington, this time aboard his own and Robin Parsky’s Gazelle. He topped week ten’s $35,000 1.50m aboard RCG Farm’s Creedance. The 12-week WEF circuit comes to a close for 2016 with one more week of competition through April 3.

Forty-one entries jumped in Sunday’s 1.50m competition on the derby field with six clear rounds over the Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER)-designed track. In the jump-off, Egypt’s Abdel Said and American Equestrian Association’s California set the pace with a clear round in 41.12 seconds to eventually finish fifth. Adam Prudent (FRA) and Plain Bay Sales’ Vasco were next to go, finishing with four faults in a time of 50.70 seconds after a refusal on course, to place sixth. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and David Gochman’s Cannavaro BH jumped off next with a clear round in 40.25 seconds to take fourth place honors.

Farrington and Gazelle followed with the winning round in 38.33 seconds. Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Homer de Reve, owned by Stephex Stables and VDB Equestrian Stables, followed with the second place time of 38.61 seconds. Last to go, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Nordic Lights Farm’s NLF Favorite jumped into third place with a time of 38.99 seconds.

Gazelle, a Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro, is just ten years old, and Farrington has been trying her out in different classes over the winter.

“She is still a green horse for the big sport,” the rider noted. “I had her jump a couple of grand prixs at the beginning of the circuit. She jumped the first 4* and I think she was a low ribbon. Then I threw her in a 5* and it went okay, but she was a bit green and I had two down. I thought the horse was quite careful, so then I thought she needed a few smaller rounds so she stayed confident. I did a few 1.40m classes just to get her confidence back and then I brought her out here. She loves the grass. She jumps fantastic on the grass, and I was really pleased with her performance and her progress through the winter. She really rallied back.”

Speaking of the course and the opportunity to jump on the grass field, Farrington stated, “I thought Olaf did a great job of designing all week. For me, it is a real pleasure to come over here and jump at a different venue other than the same rings for the 12-week circuit. It is a luxury to give our horses a different place to compete, and in my opinion, that is the best thing that we can do for the winter circuit.”

Detailing his jump-off, Farrington explained, “My plan for the jump-off was to go fast. I know that those other horses are pretty competitive. I tried to go what I would call a competitive, fast round, without going all out. The margin was pretty small at the end and today it played into our hand.”

Farrington is still deciding whether Gazelle will compete in the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final next Saturday. He will then figure out her summer tour, but noted that he is taking her plans one step at a time for the moment.

Sherri Geddes and Geddaway Top the Farmvet Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section B

Sherri Geddes and her longtime mount Geddaway earned the championship tricolor this week in the Farmvet Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section B. Geddes placed second and fourth over fences on Saturday, then topped both over fences classes on Sunday to clinch the championship win. Geddaway also earned a fifth place ribbon in the under saddle, bringing his point total for the week to 29. Victoria Watters and Beckham settled for the reserve title after netting 28.5 points. Watters topped the under saddle and earned a first, two thirds, and a sixth over fences with the six-year-old Warmblood gelding.

Geddaway and Sherri Geddes
Geddaway and Sherri Geddes

Geddes, of Jacksonville, FL, owns and operates out of Geddaway Farm. She has developed a special partnership with Geddaway since she purchased him in 2005. “I have had him for a long time so I know him inside and out,” Geddes remarked.

Geddes has been competing with Geddaway, a 17-year-old Rhinelander gelding, in the Adult Hunter divisions for ten years. “I got him from a lady who competed him in the amateurs, but I have always done the adults,” she explained.

Earning the championship tricolor this week was especially gratifying for Geddes, who has been working all circuit on becoming more consistent with the gelding. “I’m really excited because it’s been a little bit of a difficult year with this horse. He’s a great horse, but we’ve been having a little bit of a challenging year, so it’s really great to have it all come together,” she explained.

Geddes was thrilled she won both over fences classes on Sunday afternoon. “Today felt really, really good. I felt like I finally pulled it all together,” Geddes remarked. “Today it all clicked.”

Geddaway has quite the personality, Geddes stated, but when he is in the show ring, he is all business. “He’s very athletic so when he goes out in the paddock he can buck like no other. His stride is massive, he is very rideable, and he doesn’t care about anything. He is never scared of the jumps,” she said.

It was important to Geddes to finish out the circuit strong with her elderly mount because she plans to retire him at the end of this year. “I hope to finish out this year with him, but he will probably be retiring soon. I’ve had him for a long time, and he’s had a good life,” she stated.

It will be hard for Geddes to retire her longtime mount, but she does have some new horses that she is excited about bringing along. “He’s hard to give up because he’s my special boy,” Geddes smiled. “He’s just really sweet and really laid back. He’s really easy to be around.”

Geddes credits her trainer Andrew Lustig, the team at Geddaway Farm, and of course her mount Geddaway for all of her success. “I’m a very lucky girl!” she said.

The 2016 WEF circuit concludes with its twelfth and final week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, running March 30 – April 3, 2016. The week highlights the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final, and much more. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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