Darragh Kenny Does it Again to Claim Second Consecutive Kentucky Horse Shows Grand Prix with $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Victory

Darragh Kenny and Balou du Reventon
Darragh Kenny and Balou du Reventon

Lexington, Ky. – May 19, 2018 – Saturday of the Kentucky Spring Classic closed with the week’s highlight event, the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, honoring the late Mary Rena Murphy. Forty-one horse-and-rider combinations were tested over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 16-effort course which saw 11 athletes finish clear to move into the jump-off round, but once again Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was unstoppable to claim the Saturday night victory under the lights on the second week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series, this time with brand new mount, Balou du Reventon.

Darragh Kenny and Balou du Reventon with the family of Mary Rena Murphy and owner Ann Thompson.
Darragh Kenny and Balou du Reventon with the family of Mary Rena Murphy and owner Ann Thompson.

Kenny and Ann Thompson’s Balou du Reventon just started showing together two weeks ago, but they are on an impressive streak after finishing second in Thursday’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* and jumping to a number of clear rounds during their new partnership in Kentucky. Saturday night amplified their success as they flew to a clear round in 41.54 seconds to capture the featured grand prix victory. The 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion is already showing promise as an option for Kenny in this year’s World Equestrian Games.

Margie Englie and Royce
Margie Engle and Royce

Early pathfinder, Margie Engle (USA) was the first to produce a clear round with long-time partner Royce, and first to return for the jump-off round. She and Gladewinds Partners, LLC’s 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion put on the pressure with a clear round in a time of 42.08 seconds, but their time was just overtaken by Kenny and the pair finished in second place.

Rowan Willis and Blue Movie
Rowan Willis and Blue Movie

Rowan Willis (AUS) and his own Blue Movie, an 11-year-old Anglo European Warmblood mare, followed with a clear jump-off round in a time of 42.55 seconds, speeding to a third place finish. The pair recently traveled to the United States in February to capture a notable victory in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* at HITS Ocala.

The Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix is held every year in honor of the late Mary Rena Murphy, an important part of American horse show history. Murphy was known for helping many top hunter and jumper professionals begin their careers, in addition to being a successful horse show organizer. She began her career in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. She is most known for promoting the Kentucky Horse Park and helping shape the park into what it so well-known for today, world class hunter and jumper shows that not only cater to world class competition, but also to all levels of the equestrian sport.

Competition will resume in the Rolex Stadium Sunday for the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic, highlighting national jumper competition with the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix followed by the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix set to begin at 3 p.m.


Darragh Kenny – $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* winner

Darragh KennyOn his plan:
“The course was really nice. Guilherme [Jorge] did a super job – he always does a brilliant job. It made for a very good jump-off having 11 clear [rounds]. I was very happy with the way my horse jumped. I just kind of did my plan and it worked out very well. In the jump-off, Margie went quick and I just took a chance with him and I ran and it worked out today. I think to the vertical I was very quick because I could take a big risk. I thought there wasn’t much of a chance of him knocking it down because he’s so careful, so I thought take a big risk and hopefully it pays off.”

On Balou Du Reventon:
“I’ve known the horse for a long time. I always thought he was an amazing, incredible horse. I never thought I’d be lucky enough to get the chance to ride him and I was very lucky that my owner, Ann Thompson, decided to buy the horse for me and it’s one of the most incredible horses I’ve ever sat on in my life. He doesn’t want to knock jumps down. I think he jumped eight rounds over the last two weeks and he didn’t knock a jump down once. This is only my second week showing the horse, so it’s really incredible. He’s really one of the most talented horses I’ve ever sat on in my entire life and it’s unbelievable – he just doesn’t want to hit jumps. It’s crazy.”

On future plans this year:
“Babalou 41, another one of my horses, is already in Europe and she does St. Tropez and Cannes [for the Global Champions Tour], so it was cool that he stepped up and did so well. The plan is that he is supposed to be another option for me for the World Equestrian Games and it looks like he’s going to be that, so we’ll just keep building him and hopefully I get there.”

Margie Engle – second place

On her plan for the jump-off:
“I was first in the jump-off today, so I wanted to go medium-fast to put a little pressure on the ten people to follow me. With ten people behind me I knew it would get quite fast. Just showing [Royce] here I know that the footing is always fantastic here and it takes little out of the horses to jump. Royce hasn’t shown for about seven weeks so I’m just trying to do a class. He felt great today. He was clear the other day and I elected not to jump-off, because I was trying to save him for tonight. I didn’t go crazy fast tonight. His turns were really nice and I was just practicing staying smooth with him. I didn’t want to take any chances because right now I’m just trying to keep him in bubble wrap until the summer because he still has observation events [for the World Equestrian Games].”

On Royce:
“He has such a fantastic personality. He is one of the sweetest horses, especially from being a stallion. He is just a happy guy. He is laid back in the barn. He likes to sleep to a lot. He plays with everything, everything is a big game to him. He really thinks that everything is a toy. He loves to grab my stick, the ladder, the broom. He is like a big puppy dog. I’ve had him for seven years. It took awhile to get him riding nice. He always had the ability and the scope and the carefulness. He’s always had an unbelievable talent, it was just difficult getting the rideability. It’s something that I’m always working on. He is a big bulky horse, so I’m always working on getting him flexible. He is like a big football player so I work hard to keep him moving.”

On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I love Kentucky Horse Shows and that’s why I brought [Royce] here. We don’t have any hills in Florida, so I love having the big open fields to ride him up and down. It does a great job of working on his muscles without jumping a lot. The footing here, I think that this footing is better than almost anywhere else in the world. It can pour or have tornadoes and you go in and the footing is perfect. The horses are jump well and I think you can see that because the courses are all difficult enough, but they all jump well with a lot clear. Whatever they’ve done with this footing here, I wish we could emulate that everywhere.”

Robbie and Renie Murphy – son and daughter of Mary Rena Murphy

Renie on what it means to have this grand prix:
“My mom started these horse shows in the early 90’s. At that time they only had about 200 stalls and now we’ve grown to be a huge horse show. So she was really instrumental in starting this part, the foundation. There’s a ring named after her, the Murphy Ring. My brother and I took over when she passed away and it’s just an honor to recognize her in this way. Years ago, when we didn’t have any sponsors Hugh Kincannon called it the “You and Me Prix” because we were sponsoring it. It was really good. It’s so nice to see such nice horses here now.”

Robbie on what it means to have this grand prix :
“When Hugh and Mom started it there were only 200 stalls and this used to be a grass ring. It’s become to great now, such great people in the class. Todd Minikus was a good buddy of mine and he won last year, so that was special. My mom would be very happy to see what things have come to, and what the park has come to now. She started all the shows here so it’s nice to be in the top ring now. My mom is a hard act to follow.”


$131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Balou Du Reventon / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 75.97 / 0 | 41.54
2. Royce / Margie Engle / USA / 0 | 71.35 / 0 | 42.08
3. Blue Movie / Rowan Willis / AUS / 0 | 74.36 / 0 | 42.55
4. End Good All Good / Javier Fernandez / MEX / 0 | 77.45 / 0 | 46.66
5. Carrabis Z / Richie Moloney / IRL / 0 | 76.61 / 0 | 51.02
6. Hunters Conlypso II / Lorcan Gallagher / IRL / 0 | 72.73 / 4 | 41.24
7. Fedor / Scott Keach / AUS / 0 | 74.74 / 4 | 42.74
8. Corona 93 / Jack Hardin Towell / USA / 0 | 74.83 / 4 | 43.31
9. Quirie 2 / Ali Wolff / USA / 0 | 75.48 / 4 | 43.38
10. Armani SL Z / Eugenio Garza / MEX / 0 | 75.61 / 4 | 45.35
11. Diego / Andrew Bourns / IRL / 0 | 74.04 / 8 | 46.06
12. Udsturm Du Lys / Alexa Lowe / USA / 4 | 73.65

Emma Wujek and Augusta Iwasaki Lead Day One of Large Junior Hunters

The Kentucky Spring Classic’s junior riders braved Saturday morning’s rainy weather to compete in the Large Junior Hunter divisions, which are divided by age into the 16-17 and 15 and under. After two over fences classes in the 16-17 division, it was Emma Wujek who took the lead with Carento after placing first and third. Directly after, the 15 and under juniors took to the ring to see Augusta Iwasaki top the lead by placing first and second in the over fences rounds with Small Occasion.

Emma Wujek and Carento
Emma Wujek and Carento

Wujek and Carento just began their partnership together last week, while showing at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Their compatibility showed in the ring after producing two solid over fences rounds which placed them as the top contenders for Sunday’s champion ribbon. Carento showed successfully throughout the duration of the Winter Equestrian Festival with owner Erika Luter. Wujek also placed second and fourth with her other mount, Puppet.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Occasion
Augusta Iwasaki and Small Occasion

Iwasaki is no stranger to the winner’s circle at just 14 years old, with big wins at USEF Pony Finals in 2017 and USHJA National Hunter Derbies. Her partnership with Small Occasion began during the summer of 2017 and the pair plan to continue to show in the Large Junior Hunters, with high hopes of capturing the championship ribbon. Iwasaki is also entered in the division with another mount, Small Anecdote, where they placed second and third in Saturday’s over fences classes.

Junior Hunter competition will continue on Sunday with over fences, handy, and under saddle rounds that will dictate who will take home the champion title on the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic. Competition is set to start at 8:00 a.m. in the Stonelea Ring.


Emma Wujek – Large Junior Hunter 16-17 leader

On Carento:
“We just got him this past [Winter Equestrian Festival] and he belongs to a girl at my barn named Erika Luter. We just started doing him in the Junior Hunters during WEF, before this he was doing the derbies. I just started showing him last week. He is really cool to ride, he just floats around the course and yanks his knees up. He jumps in perfect style every time. He is just a really kind horse.”

On plans for Sunday’s round:
“Tomorrow I just want to stay consistent like he was today. The overall plan is just to put down really good rounds.”

Augusta Iwasaki – Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under leader

On Small Occasion:
“She is so fun to ride. She is a really good horse overall and fun to be around. She can be a little sassy, but still really sweet. I’ve been riding her since the summer and I love riding her.”

On plans for Sunday’s round:
“I just really want to stay consistent tomorrow so we have a shot for the champion ribbon.”


Large Junior Hunters 16-17 Over Fences
Place / Horse / Rider
1. Carento / Emma Wujek
2. Puppet / Emma Wujek
3. Tztargazer / Chloe White
4. Cortese / Hannah Eddlemon
5. Eclypse / Jordan Allen
6. Soldier / Grady Lyman
7. Pagani / Carson Ruff
8. Cassino / Josephine Rose
9. Casino 71 / Emma Kurtz
10. Romulus / Elise Buhl

Place / Horse / Rider
1. Soldier / Grady Lyman
2. Cassino / Josephine Rose
3. Carento / Emma Wujek
4. Puppet / Emma Wujek
5. Eclypse / Jordan Allen
6. Tztargazer / Chloe White
7. Pagani / Carson Ruff
8. Casino 71 / Emma Kurtz
9. Romulus / Elise Buhl
10. Cortese / Hannah Eddlemon

Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Over Fences
Place / Horse / Rider
1. Small Occasion / Augusta Iwasaki
2. Small Anecdote / Augusta Iwasaki
3. Seaside / Eliza Kimball
4. E.V. Comander / Hannah Hoch
5. Loyalty / Sofia Roberts
6. Prophet / Kathryn Hall

Place / Horse / Rider
1. Seaside / Eliza Kimball
2. Small Occasion / Augusta Iwasaki
3. Small Anecdote / Augusta Iwasaki
4. Prophet / Kathryn Hall
5. Loyalty / Sofia Roberts
6. E.V. Comander / Hannah Hoch

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