Wellington, Fla. — Feb. 27, 2020 — Week 8 of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) welcomed a class of 65 horse-and-rider combinations to compete in the eighth installment of the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup in the International Ring on Thursday morning. Athletes were up against a 13-obstacle track with a time-allowed of 80 seconds and, for the first time this season, the Challenge was only one round, so riders gave it their all in just one attempt to top the class with a quick, clear trip. The sprawling course challenged riders to shave seconds off their time by moving quickly through several long lines, rollbacks, and ample space between obstacles. In the end, it was Ireland’s Darragh Kenny that emerged victorious aboard his new mount, Carthano.
Alexandra Thornton (GBR) was the first to enter the ring aboard Dunwalke LLC’s Charielle. The pair gave a valiant effort and earned the first clear round with a time of 70.88 seconds. Beezie Madden (USA) was the next to manage a clear round with her mount Garant, owned by Abigail Wexner, with a time of 67.25 seconds. Before the first drag break, Andrew Ramsay (USA) and The Stranger Group’s Stranger 30 topped the leaderboard with a speedy time of 64.39 seconds, more than six seconds quicker than the initial leaders.
Over two seconds separated Ramsay from the rest of the crowd for most of the remainder of the class. Lucas Porter (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Diamonte Darco tried their best to catch Ramsay, tripping the timers at 64.62 seconds and moving into second place. Many horse-and-rider pairs took to the ring in an effort to beat Ramsay’s time, but it wasn’t until the fifth-to-last pair when Kenny and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Carthano moved into the top spot with a time of 63.67 seconds to ultimately claim the blue ribbon.
Kenny recently acquired the ride on Carthano, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, but has had his eye on him since he was a 7-year-old. Now an official team, Kenny and Carthano have been trying their luck at WEF since the beginning of the circuit and have been getting to know one another. The pair delivered a quick round in the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup by navigating tight roll back turns and leaving out a stride in one of the lines, which was enough to earn them the blue ribbon out of 65 pairs in the one-round class.
Show jumping competition will pick up on Friday, Feb. 28 at 8:00 a.m. in the International Ring with the $2,500 High Amateur-Owner Jumpers and will continue throughout the weekend with the highlight event, the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO 4*, kicking off at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Darragh Kenny – $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII winner
“I bought the horse at [the Olympia Horse Show] at the end of last year in December. I saw him jump the World Cup at La Coruña [Spain] and I really liked him, then it just worked out that I could buy him at the end of last year. I took him here straight away and we just started playing around at the start, but I think he’s going to be a super horse. I had actually tried [Carthano] when he was 7 and I always liked him, and I saw him go really well the last few shows in December and he jumped super. I thought he would be a good horse to add to my string. I didn’t ride him very well today, but he’s a super, super nice horse. I’m still getting to know him. I did one less stride to number three that I wasn’t even planning on. Then I completely missed the four-[stride], which was kind of bad, but he’s a super horse. He tries really hard, he’s really brave, careful, super simple to ride, I just have to get to know him better.”
On the course:
“I thought [Ken Krome (USA)] did a very good job. A Table A speed is always hard to build. I think with the Nations Cup going on, a lot of people weren’t using their best horses today. It was a good class and he caught people everywhere. I think he did a very good job on the course. I think I was running very fast, faster than I expected, actually. I don’t really know [Carthano] that well, he has a much bigger stride than I thought when I went forward. Then I was just trying to keep it all together at the end.”
On his plans for the remainder of the season:
“[Carthano] jumps the grand prix on Sunday, and then he’ll probably wait and do the [Longines Global Champions Tour Miami]. I’m going to use him more for the Global shows, so he’ll go to those mostly.”
$37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Faults | R1 Time
1. Carthano / Darragh Kenny / Oakland Ventures LLC / IRL / 0 | 63.67
2. Stranger 30 / Andrew Ramsay / The Stranger Group / USA / 0 | 64.39
3. Diamonte Darco / Lucas Porter / Sleepy P Ranch LLC / USA / 0 | 64.62
4. Ginger Blue / Ben Maher / Jane Forbes Clark / GBR / 0 | 66.23
5. Kel’Star Du Vingt Ponts / Lucas Porter / Castlefield Sport Horses / USA / 0 | 66.37
6. Victorio 5 / Abigail McArdle / Victorio Equine Group LLC / USA / 0 | 66.75
7. H5 Elvaro / Eduardo Menezes / H5 Stables / BRA / 0 | 66.79
8. Jet Run / Karen Polle / Karen Polle / USA / 0 | 67.2
9. Garant / Beezie Madden / Abigail Wexner / USA / 0 | 67.25
10. Everglade Santo Antonio / Yuri Mansur / Yuri Mansur / BRA / 0 | 68.7
11. Chat Botte E.D / Billy Twomey / Sue David & Billy Twomey / IRL / 0 | 70.22
12. Charielle / Alexandra Thornton / Dunwalke LTD / GBR / 0 | 70.88