The $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final concluded on Saturday with a win for Kent Farrington (USA) and Amalaya Investments Waomi. The competition saw 63 entries in the first round during the day, and the top 25% returned to compete in round two on Saturday evening. Fourteen clear entries and the two fastest four fault scores from round one returned to jump off. Their cumulative scores from both rounds were combined to determine the winner.
In the second round, two out of the 16 competitors were able to clear the course without fault. McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and Francois Mathy, were first to complete the jump-off clear in 44.05 seconds. They finished second overall. Farrington and Waomi took the win with two clear rounds and the leading jump-off time of 42.07 seconds.
"I thought it was a difficult track right from the first round," Farrington said following his win. "I was actually surprised there were that many clear. I think the lighting made it a bit more difficult for the jump-off, which also was still technical. When you have 16 horses coming back and a lot of fast riders, you know that it is going to be competitive, so I think everybody was putting it out on the line to try to win tonight. No one was conservative, and I think that is why you saw so many faults tonight in the jump-off."
On where he was faster than Ward, Farrington noted, "First, I think my horse is naturally faster across the ground, and I think my turns were probably a bit shorter. McLain was on a green horse, and I don't think he was really able to turn quite as short as I was to the fences."
The victory marked Farrington's fourth in the 1.50m series for 2015. Three wins came with Waomi, a twelve-year-old KWPN mare by Lupicor x Boreas. He also topped one class with Amalaya Investments' Willow.
"I started riding Waomi in the fall during the indoor season, and she pretty much started winning right from the beginning," Farrington said of their partnership. "At the National, she won back-to-back 1.50m. Then she came to Florida here and kept right on track. I started her early in the WEF (Challenge Cup) classes, and she jumped one grand prix and also placed. As my other horses were stepping up, I put her more in the position to jump the 1.50m classes, and she has been super consistent and a real winner for me."
As the conclusion to the twelve-week Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series, Saturday's class served as the final allocation of points for the overall standings for the Leading Rider Award. Ireland's Darragh Kenny took the series overall with consistent results throughout the winter. For his win, Kenny was awarded a pre-paid two-year lease on a beautiful new 2015 Range Rover Evoque.
Kenny had the opportunity to compete multiple horses throughout the series, and had his most consistent placings aboard Spruce Meadows' Quiz, including a win during week five.
"Last year he was also very consistent in the 1.50m classes. I think he finished third in the league," Kenny recalled. "This year he was really, really good. He is just a great horse to have in my string of horses. He has been very good all winter. He has done a lot and he has really produced some great results, so I am very happy with him."
"The series is brilliant for us to produce our younger horses," Kenny continued. "I am not in the position that Kent is in right now; I don't have that many grand prix horses. I have a lot more horses that are building up and doing the 1.50m classes, so I focused more on this league. We are so lucky to have the Tisbo Family and Suncast® as sponsors. I think it has been a great series all winter, and I was very happy to end up on top."
On his prize, Kenny added, "I have never won a car before. This is my first one, so I am actually quite happy with that. It is really nice."
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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