Week eleven of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Artisan Farms, continued on Thursday with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Red Star d'Argent in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11. Competing in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, the pair beat out Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance in second, and Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) aboard Limestone Grey in third.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the course for the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Coup Round 11 on Thursday with 65 entries and 17 advancing to the jump-off. Eight of those were able to complete double clear rounds over the short course with Darragh Kenny and Red Star d'Argent clocking the fastest time of 37.52 seconds. Farrington and RCG Farm's Creedance finished just off the mark in the slimmest of margins in 37.53 seconds to place second. De Luca and his own and Stephex Stables' Limestone Grey followed with the third place time of 38.51 seconds.
Red Star d'Argent is an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star that Kenny's Oakland Ventures and Sergio Alvarez Moya own in partnership. Moya sent the horse to Kenny to be sold this winter, and the pair has had fantastic results. They already won the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* during week six competition, as well as the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4* in week eight.
Speaking of what he has learned about the horse, Kenny stated, "He likes to win. He is a fighter. He wants to be careful, he wants to be good, and he wants to win. I just have to not screw it up.
"He has been doing great, so we will just take our time and see what happens," the rider continued. "I am having a lot of fun. He is a great horse. He twisted a shoe two weeks ago and put the clip up his foot and was lame for a few days, so we could not ride him. I only started riding him again on Saturday, and jogged on Tuesday and he felt good, so we went today. He is just an incredible horse. I have used him very sparingly this winter, but every time he comes out, he comes out great."
Coming out the ring after Thursday's jump-off, Kenny did not think that he had done enough to get the win with the fast combinations still to go, but he got a little lucky.
"I did not think I was fast enough. Kent is extremely fast, and he actually would have been faster," Kenny explained. "He did one more stride to the last fence just because his horse shifted right at the second to last, but he would have been faster otherwise. I kind of got lucky there. There were a lot of fast riders like Lisa Goldman, and a couple of the others still to go, so you never know until the end."
Detailing his jump-off, Kenny noted, "It is kind of the same thing I do with that horse. He is quick, and I just go as fast as I feel I can. I felt I was a little bit slow to the orange vertical, and that is where I thought I left a bit of time, but I knew that was the right thing to do for him. He felt great, and the rest of it was super. Kent's horse is a super horse and Kent is an amazing rider and I knew he was going to be very fast, so I had to do as much as I felt comfortable with."
In addition to the winning prize money, Kenny earned a $3,000 bonus for wearing his SSG 'Digital' style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves 'Go Clean for the Green' promotion.
Source: Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions News // Picture © Sportfot
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