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Keenan goes two for two in Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Series

Monday, 23 January 2017
CSI2* WEF Week 2 2017

Photo (c) Sportfot Lillie Keenan and Be Gentle won the Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix. Photo (c) Sportfot.

The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series hosted its second event of the circuit with back-to-back wins for 20-year-old Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, aboard Chansonette Farm LLC's Be Gentle. Keenan and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Ticallux Verte x Gentleman) topped Saturday's $10,000 Welcome speed class and returned to take victory in Sunday's $25,000 Grand Prix jump-off.

The $25,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix saw 65 entries Sunday morning in the International Arena at PBIEC. Ana Catalina Harris Cruz (MEX) set a challenging test for the young competitors, which saw five clear rounds advance to the jump-off.

Taylor Land (USA) was first to return over the short course, with a clear track in 43.56 seconds that eventually placed fourth riding Jay Land's For Edition. Lucas Porter (USA) went next, jumping the second place time of 40.74 seconds aboard Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Diamonte Darco. Kerry McCahill (USA) and Cadensky followed with the third place time of 43.43 seconds. Keenan then jumped the winning round in 39.85 seconds aboard Be Gentle. Last to go, Jennifer Gates (USA) incurred eight faults in 42.74 seconds to finish fifth.

"I have a lot of confidence in my horse," Keenan said following her win. "I have had her for over a year now and I have jumped her in some bigger classes, so we have experience together. She is lightning fast against the clock. I would say out of all my horses, she is the most straightforward and trustworthy. The feeling that she gives you is that you could really point her to the eye of a needle. Some of the angles that you can point her at for a jump are really remarkable."

Keenan detailed her jump-off, explaining that her position to go fourth out of five was an advantage.

"I got to see Lucas go and I think really where I made up time was on the turns," Keenan said. "I have experience going very fast on my horse. That was something that I tried to fine tune throughout the year, and I feel like now it's really coming together."

Lucas Porter (19), of Wellington, FL, took the reins on Diamonte Darco in 2016 after the mare showed with his older brother Wilton for two seasons. The 12-year-old by Unbelievable Darco has jumped bigger tracks and is an experienced mount for her young rider.

"She's a super competitive horse," Porter stated. "Even though she has jumped bigger, our team feels that she jumps the best at this height. These classes are usually really quick, and she has now learned how to go fast against the clock, so she is super useful. It is the perfect fit for these U25 classes."

McCahill (20), of Windermere, FL, just began showing Cadensky two weeks ago. She bought the 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Cornet Obolensky x Carthago Z) late in November and is getting to know the mount through the Under 25 classes.

"I was just trying to be smooth and give him a good ride," she noted. "I really wasn't sure how it was going to go, but he's incredible. I am very lucky to have him."

McCahill first showed in the Under 25 Series in 2016 and has made it her goal to qualify for this year's $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.

The series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte,has been expanded to ten events offering a total of $215,000 in prize money for the 2017 season. Developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition, the Series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions, including jumping on grass, under the lights at night, and in team competition; all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress.

Keenan, who has been competing and training in Europe with Olympian Cian O'Connor of Ireland, enjoys the experience that the Series offers.

"I am very grateful that they offer this division because it is a great stepping-stone," she noted. " I haven't been in the show ring since November, so it is a big confidence boost to start the circuit with two events like this.

"I am very fortunate to have had the experience of competing in America throughout my junior divisions, going to Young Riders and making the transition to competing in Europe and showing against the pros," Keenan continued. "Having the experience of myself jumping on a Nations' Cup team, you need to learn how to deal with pressure and how to work in different environments, so I think we are very lucky that Hollow Creek Farm offers that for us here."

 


Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. // Picture © Sportfot

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