Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 14, 2020 – Week Ten of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) featured the $137,000 Horseware Ireland CSI3* Grand Prix held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Ultimately, it was Ireland’s Darragh Kenny who claimed first place honors aboard Scarlett Du Sart Z. Week Ten marks the end of grand prix competition for the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival following the advisement of both the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) in response to the growing risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Taking place in the International Arena, 45 horse and rider pairs assembled to contest the 13-obstacle course designed by Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt. Riders were met with a challenging triple combination and many tight rollback turns during Saturday’s first round, with rails coming down in various spots on course.
After a challenging first round of competition, the 12 horse-and-rider combinations returned for the jump-off, which consisted of seven obstacles with several tight rollback turns. Serving as the pathfinders, Flo Norris (GBR) piloted Cisca Norris’ 11-year-old Westphalian gelding Con Pleasure 5 to the first clear round in a time of 36.625 seconds, which held up for fifth place. She was immediately overtaken by Sydney Shulman riding J-Boston S.E, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Jill Schulman who broke the beam in a blazing time of 33.966 seconds.
The competition continued to heat up as riders tried to unsuccessfully best Schulman’s time with Beezie Madden (USA) aboard the 9-year-old KWPN gelding Garant owned by Abigail Wexner putting in an impressive effort, but was not quite fast enough finishing the short course in a time of 34.943 seconds, to eventually place fourth. It was not until Daragh Kenny riding the Scarlett Du Sart Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by Vlock Show Stables sliced off a mere four-tenths of a second with a time of 33.549 seconds to take over the lead. Following Kenny, Spencer Smith (USA) aboard Ashland Farm’s 13-year-old Selle Francis gelding, Theodore Manciais attempted to overtake the position as the class leader but ended his round crossing the timers a second slower with a time of 34.873 seconds, slotting into the third-place position, while Shulman claimed the second place honors and Kenny led the lap of honor.
Kenny, who has his sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo said that as of now it will be business as usual until a decision is made regarding the Games. He hopes to return to Europe once restrictions regarding COVID-19 are lifted, but will use this time to let his horses rest before beginning to get them fit again at home. Only time will tell if the Tokyo Olympics will come to fruition, or if athletes will have to wait until 2024 to compete.
Week Ten, as well as all competition for the Winter Equestrian Festival, will conclude Sunday, March 15 and will feature the $36,000 CaptiveOne 1.50m Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Darragh Kenny – $137,000 Horseware Ireland CSI3* Grand Prix Winner
On his horse, Scarlett Du Sart Z:
“[Scarlett Du Sart Z] is a mare that Teddy Vlock and his owner bought for me as a 7-year-old and we’ve been slowly producing her now until she’s 10 and she’s really starting to turn a corner. I think she’s an incredibly talented horse and I think she will end up jumping at the highest level. It was nice to have a good win today.”
On his jump-off round:
“I didn’t get to see Sydney go but Hardin [Towell] said to me that she was very fast so I was going to have to do everything to beat it. I was lucky I got a good shot to the third to last jump, which meant I could do seven to the second to last which I think was less than everyone else and I think that’s where I won it. It was a good jump-off course and it was difficult to beat Sydney, it just worked out for me today.”
On his success this WEF:
“I’ve been very lucky – I had a very good winter and all the horses went very well. I had a good feeling coming into this winter because I have an incredible group of horses and I’m very lucky that I could have those horses.”
On COVID-19 and the Olympics:
“I don’t think anyone can make any decisions right now. This is so up in the air. For me, I go back to Europe, but I’m not going to go until the middle of April. For everybody, everything is up in the air right now and we just have to see what way it goes. My whole goal this year is the Olympics and it will be quite disappointing if it doesn’t happen. I think everybody has the same mindset, most of our horses have done a good bit this winter already, so they will have one or two weeks easy. Then we will go back to how we build up for every show – gymnastics and jumping at home, try to keep everything going and keep them really fit so when it all gets going again we’re ready to go.”
Sydney Schulman – Second Place
On her horse, J-Boston S.E:
“I recently just got him in December, so it’s still relatively new. He is as normal and as lovely can be. My other horses that I have are a little wild, a little crazy, a little unconventional, so it was a little harder for me to get used to him and just ride something normal and lovely. He’s absolutely great. Ilan Bluman was doing him in a couple bigger classes in the fall when I saw him. He caught our eye and we’ve gotten to know each other, so I am glad. This was kind of our plan to work up to Week 12, but if this was our last one then I am very happy to end on today’s result with him. I feel like I know him better now and we’re geling a little bit more. I’m excited about the future with him.”
On her success at WEF:
“I’m very happy, this season was great. I won the Under 25 overall, which they told me right before I went so that was great. I think all four of my horses finished in the top three of an FEI class this circuit. That’s amazing, I’m thrilled with that. I have a really good solid string of four horses for these classes and everyone, knock on wood, feels good. It was a great winter and I am very thankful to my team at Back Country Farm, my sponsors and John Roche. It takes a huge village to make sure the horses stay happy and sound and keep me where I supposed to be.”
Spencer Smith – Third Place
On his horse, Theodore Manciais:
“He’s a horse that I’ve had for a few years now and he’s been very successful for me. He’s done a lot for me. I thought we had a good round the first round. Nice jump-off, we left a little bit of a window and these guys are so fast that they beat you if you do that. I’m going to go to Europe after all of this clears up and do the tour.”
On his placing in today’s grand prix:
“I’m a Wellington local here so my grandparents and my whole family are here to watch. It’s a nice thing to get a good result at home.”
$137,000 Horseware Ireland CSI3* Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Scarlett Du Sart Z / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 71.58 / 0 | 33.549
2. J-Boston S.E / Sydney Schulman / USA / 0 | 72.07 / 0 | 33.966
3. Theodore Manciais / Spencer Smith / USA / 0 | 75.41 / 0 | 34.873
4. Garant / Beezie Madden / USA / 0 | 73.91 / 0 | 34.943
5. Con Pleasure 5 / Flor Norris / CAN / 0 | 75.07 / 0 | 36.625
6. Casall / Ali Wolff / USA / 0 | 73.02 / 4 | 35.298
7. Chance Ste Hermelle / Michael Morrissey / USA / 0 | 75.73 / 4 | 35.886
8. Tulara Colmine / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / 0 | 4 | 37.902
9. Cayani SN / Bliss Heers / USA / 0 | 74.02 / 4 | 46.608
10. Grafton / Hyde Moffatt / CAN / 0 | 73.78 / 8 | 34.54
11. Galan S / Beat Mandli / SUI / 0 | 74.55 / 8 | 37.08
12. Catokia 2 / Rodrigo Lambre / MEX / 0 | 73.83 / 12 | 39.23