Kent Farrington and Madison Survive to Win $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup Grand Prix at Winter Equestrian Festival
Wellington, FL – February 12, 2006 – On an unseasonably cold and blustery South Florida day, it was survival of the fittest during the main event on Sunday afternoon at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup wrapped up week three at the festival, the nation’s longest running and largest equestrian extravaganza.
Fifty nine starters lined up for today’s 2 p.m. featured event, the second American Grand Prix Association (AGA) class of the 2006 tour. Scoring was under FEI Art. 238.2.2., Time First-Jump-Off. Robert J. Ellis of Great Britain designed today’s challenge.
And quite a challenge it was. Of the fifty-nine that started today, only two competitors could muster a clean round over the difficult and technical track that featured three double combinations: the first a vertical to an oxer, the second an oxer to oxer, and the third a vertical to a vertical. Those last two combinations came in succession. The double of oxers at 9a and 9b accounted for 38 rails down, while the double verticals at 10a and 10b tallied another 20 poles on the floor. A very tight time allowed only added to already difficult going. Twenty-eight of today’s fifty-nine starters could not get home within the time allowed.
Seven horse and rider combinations cruised home with only a single knockdown, while another twelve had eight faults. Thirteen competitors had three rails down and seventeen riders had 16 faults or more. Nine duos elected to withdraw or were eliminated.
The first of the two clear rides came twenty-nine deep in the starting order when Kimberly Prince and Marlou from the Windmill Ranch mastered the course. “It was one of my more hectic rounds,” laughed Prince. “So when I pulled up and was actually clear at the end, it took me a long time before I could even breathe. I was so winded. I can’t imagine how my horse felt. I was really working out there,” she said. “I was just so proud of my mare, She’s just amazing.”
One horse later, Kent Farrington on the 2005 AGA Horse of the Year Madison, owned by Alexa Weeks, produced the second clear ride of the day. “She felt great. The round felt maybe a little scrappy, a little rough,” admitted Farrington. “But that was more because of the course. There was never a break. The lines were either short or long, and there was a lot of twisting and turning, so it was hard for that course to feel like a smooth go round.”
In the jump-off, a stumble and a stop for Prince and Marlou at the second fence on the speed course opened the door for Farrington, and he walked right in. He and Madison went on to score their second clear ride of the day, earning the victory and putting Madison back at the top of the charts in the race for 2006 Horse of the Year title. For the record, Farrington was clear in 57.42 seconds.
“I knew she (Prince) was at a tremendous disadvantage going first with only two of us,” said Farrington following the win. “My horse is naturally quite fast, so Kim took a big risk at the beginning, which she had to do going first. So after her problems, all I had to do was clock around, which was sort of a relief for me because Marlou’s a really fast mare, and I was getting ready for a really competitive jump-off.”
Prince did not blame Marlou for the jump-off problems. “I wanted to do seven from the first fence in the jump off to the double combination, and when I galloped the first fence, she landed where the footing was a little torn up,” she explained. “She really stumbled, and I have to say to her balance just wasn’t quite right. I was there in seven but I was running to get there, and she just didn’t see how she could negotiate it going that fast into a double. She normally doesn’t stop; she always tries her heart out for me,” smiled Prince. “So I’m not worried about that. It was more of a footing issue really. If I had planned to do the eight it wouldn’t have come into play, because when she stumbled, I would have been regrouping rather than running forward.”
Today’s very difficult course was the main topic of conversation following today’s battle.
“When I walked the course, I knew it was going to be very difficult,” said Farrington. “I thought there might be four or five clear. It was really technical, and he didn’t give you a break on the whole course. I thought it was going to be really tough, and it was.”
“I thought the same thing,” agreed Prince. “And with the time allowed being so tight, there was no break or freebie for the horses or the riders. Everything dominoed into the next thing. I had ridden his (Ellis) courses in Hickstead, and they were very, very tough there. So I was sure when I walked the course today, it was going to ride as hard as it looked,” she said. “The Nations Cup course at Hickstead was so unbelievably hard I can’t even begin to tell you, and when I came out here today I was thinking, ‘Here we are, Hickstead all over again.’”
Following the class, many were asking if the course was too difficult. “It’s hard to say,” said Prince. “You’re in Florida with the best horses in the world; and there are sixty in the class. It’s a really tough job for a course designer. A little softer, and all of a sudden you’ve got fifteen clear, so it’s tough. I don’t envy him in that job at all.”
Course Designer Robert Ellis discussed his course after today’s event. “It turned out to be a very difficult course. We put a few distance problems out there, and we also made it very delicate, so it took a lot of riding. I thought we’d get five to seven clear, especially after how they jumped on Thursday,” He added, “I thought the double of verticals (10a and b) to the oxer at 11 would be the real problem spot. It had a very short distance and then either a long four or a short five running towards the in gate as well. I didn’t think the double of oxers would cause as much problems as they did. I’m surprised really.”
Today’s $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup is the sixth of fourteen qualifying events for the FTI Rider Challenge, a rider bonus pool for $200,000 in which the riders receive points based on the number of riders in the seven Thursday and seven Sunday Grand Prix events that are part of the WEF Wellington series.
The Bainbridge Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular, week four at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival, begins on Wednesday. Jumper highlights include Round Four of the $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series at the DeNemethy Ring on Friday at 1 p.m. and the $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic, presented by the Palm Beach Post on Sunday in the Internationale Arena at 2 p.m.
Sunday’s Grand Prix is one of just three remaining East Coast League World Cup Qualifying events for the World Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April. It is the third American Grand Prix Association (AGA) event of the 2006 season. The AGA Grand Prix Series is the nation’s richest and longest running series of equestrian show jumping events. In its twenty eighth year of equestrian excellence, the AGA tour includes thirty two events in twenty two different equestrian markets and offers over $2.5 million dollars in prize money.
Results of Class 100 $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup CSI***- FEI Art. 238.2.2-Internationale Arena- KILKENNY/ICH INTERNATIONALE CSI 3*
1 1093 KENT FARRINGTON USA MADISON 0.00 82.72 0.00 57.42 $18000
2 185 KIMBERLY PRINCE USA MARLOU 0.00 82.64 elim. $13200
WINDMILL RANCH LLC
3 2702 LAURA CHAPOT USA LITTLE BIG MAN 4.00 79.48 $7800
4 529 MEGAN LAMAZE USA OLLANDAISE 4.00 79.63 $4800
5 3301 LUCIANA DINIZ BRA MEAUTRY'S LOCARNO 4.00 81.78 $3600
6 1799 ERIC LAMAZE CAN HICKSTEAD 4.00 82.85 $3000
TORREY PINES STBLE
7 1204 NORMAN DELLO JOIO USA QURIEL 4.00 83.81 $2400
8 2850 LAURIE BUCCI CAN CATESKO 4.00 84.10 $1800
SOUTH SHORE FARM
9 334 ROBIN SWEELY USA QARCO V'T MERELSNEST 5.00 85.06 $1800
ACORN HILL FARM
10 2502 BEEZIE MADDEN USA DESILVIO 8.00 81.57 $1200
ABIGAIL S. WEXNER
11 1533 LAURA KRAUT USA ANTHEM 8.00 81.74 $1200
12 2877 MARKUS BEERBAUM GER SOUVENIR 8.00 82.83 $1200
13 137 MARGIE ENGLE USA QUERVO GOLD 8.00 83.38
14 2285 MARIO DESLAURIERS CAN PARADIGM 8.00 83.45
15 1871 SCHUYLER RILEY USA NOTTINGHAM 8.00 83.99
SOUTH BEACH STABLE
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