Luck of the Irish Finds Darragh Kenny in WEF Challenge Cup

Darragh Kenny and Gasper van den Doorn win the WEF Challenge Cup Round 10.

Wellington, Fla. – March 16, 2017 – Darragh Kenny gave the Irish reason to celebrate a day early as he secured his first WEF Challenge Cup win of the season aboard new mount Gasper van den Doorn on Thursday at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The luck of the Irish continues to build after recent back-to-back Nations Cup wins in Ocala and Wellington.

Darragh Kenny and Gasper van den Doorn

Kenny and the 2006 Belgian Warmblood were unbeatable in the jump-off with almost a full two seconds separating him from runner-up finisher Marilyn Little. The duo have only been together for a few short weeks but already show a promising future after securing the win in the tenth round of the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup CSI3* in 38.135 seconds.

One strategic inside turn in front of a palm tree in the jump-off elevated Kenny to the top spot as he rolled back from an airy vertical at fence two to the large Hermès oxer at fence three.

“I think where I won the class was the turn. He’s such a nice horse. I know he’s never going to stop or do anything like that so it was only up to me to get the right distance,” Kenny said of the gelding, owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC.

Out of a starting field of 71 horse-and-rider pairs, 21 demonstrated clear rounds, while the jump-off saw 18 combinations return to the International Arena and only eight produce double-clear performances.

When asked about the track, built by Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt, Kenny said, “It was technical and you had to be careful, but it wasn’t huge. It was very good for a 3* WEF Challenge Cup. The first round did a super job and the combination was just difficult enough. [Michel] ended up with 21 clear but still, out of the numbers, that was a pretty good result.”

USA’s Little rode Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater to second place, racing through the timers in 40.059 seconds but ultimately unable to catch Kenny.

Marilyn Little and Clearwater – Second Place

The final rider to earn his spot in the jump-off was USA’s Jimmy Torano and North Run’s Betagravin, a Dutch Warmblood mare. They earned a time of 40.149 seconds in the jump-off for third place behind Little and Clearwater.

Jimmy Torano and Betagravin – Third Place

Kenny began working with Gasper van den Doorn to assist with his training before student Teddy Vlock takes the reins.

“I was very lucky,” said Kenny. “Teddy has agreed to let me show him for a few more weeks because I’m a little bit short of a grand prix horse.”

The pair is hoping for repeat success now that they have earned a spot to compete in this week’s highlight event, the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*, on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the International Arena at WEF.

Results: $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round Ten

1   5693 – GASPER VAN DEN DOORN  DARRAGH KENNY$11,550 0   |  71.92 0   |  38.135

2  4946 – CLEARWATER  MARILYN LITTLE$7,000 0   |  72.41 0   |  40.059

3  863 – BETAGRAVIN  JIMMY TORANO$5,250 0   |  70.06 0   |  40.149

4  6519 – RANDON PLEASURE  STEPHANIE MACIEIRA$3,500 0   |  74.34 0   |  41.267

5  6546 – TINY TOON SEMILLY  EVE JOBS$2,100 0   |  72.11 0   |  41.653

6  3103 – ADARE  PARIS SELLON$1,575 0   |  73.24 0   |  41.973

7  2376 – CALETTO CABANA  WILTON PORTER$1,050 0   |  74.63 0   |  42.813

8  3448 – BONZAY  JONATHON MILLAR$875 0   |  72.91 0   |  44.146

9  6211 – AYMARA DES BERGERIES  SANTIAGO LAMBRE$700 0   |  73.71 4   |  39.084

10  6438 – CHAVENTYNO  YANN CANDELE$700 0   |  73.69 4   |  39.337

11  2133 – CHECK PICOBELLO Z  ERIC LAMAZE$350 0   |  72.31 4   |  40.627

12  5897 – CAS 2  AUDREY COULTER$350 0   |  72.58 4   |  41.035

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