Ireland's Darragh Kenny continued an incredible summer at Spruce Meadows with another win on Friday afternoon, this time taking the $33,500 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m aboard Hyperion Stud LLC's Chin Quidam VDL, an eight-year-old KWPN stallion by Chin Chin x Quidam de Revel. Including Friday's win, Kenny has now had eight individual FEI victories over the course of four weeks at Spruce Meadows as well as a team Nations Cup win for Ireland.
In Friday's Pepsi Challenge, course designer Leopoldo Palacios set the track for 42 entries and saw 10 advance to the jump-off with four double clear rounds. Eric Lamaze went first over the short course with Artisan Farms LLC's Check Picobello Z in 39.78 seconds, but Kenny stole the lead with Chin Quidam VDL in 35.63 seconds a few rounds later. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) then moved into second with Spy Coast Farm LLC's Mimosa in 36.97 seconds. Last to go, Leslie Howard (USA) went for the clear round in 40.87 seconds with Moormann, Rolf u. Paul Schockemohle's Balboa 6 to finish fourth. Frances Land (USA) had the time in hand with Vieanne in 35.21 seconds, but had four faults at the final fence to place fifth.
"I didn't know what exactly I was doing when I went in the ring," Kenny admitted after his round. "He's very quick, and he's very careful. I didn't know if he was going to spook on the inside turn from one to two in the jump-off, but he didn't at all. Everybody had said to me that it was going to be very difficult to do six strides to the double (combination), but I knew that he had such a big stride that it was going to be easy for him. I just cut inside, did the six, and then I knew I was one stride ahead at that stage, so then I just kept going. I tried to do seven to the last, but I got caught wide, so I had to do eight (strides), but it turned out to be good enough."
"I was very lucky that Frances Land hit the last jump because she could have done 11 strides to the last jump and still beaten me," Kenny added with a laugh.
Chin Quidam VDL is a breeding stallion for Hyperion Stud in Virginia. Kenny started riding the horse in Florida over the winter and has been stepping him up this summer. "He's a really, really nice horse, and he only started doing the 1.45m here at Spruce," Kenny noted. "He has really come a long way. He won a national 1.45m here also and was second in another. Today was only his second time in the big ring, and he really performed well. He is quite competitive."
In addition to his own success throughout the summer series, Kenny has coached many of his students to top ribbons. One student, Taylor Alexander, finished ninth with her horse G&C Flash in the Pepsi Challenge. Kenny explained that it is a big job to make sure all of his horses and riders are prepared in the same classes throughout the day, but showing together also keeps him on top of his game.
"For me, I really enjoy working with students," he acknowledged. "I really enjoy helping people get to their goals in their careers. I know from my own experience, I ask nearly all the top riders questions all the time, so I think it's good for my students that they also have someone that's riding in the ring and can get on the horse and feel what they feel, and have an idea of what's going on."
"It's a huge balance when you're walking the course," Kenny pointed out. "You have to teach every person differently because of how they ride and the horse that they are on. I really try in my training to individualize the horses. I don't try to use the same idea for every horse. I see what each horse needs to improve on and do that, whether it's my own horses or my clients' horses."
Twenty-year-old Wilton Porter (USA) got his first International win at Spruce Meadows Friday morning riding Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Diamonte Darco in the $33,500 Friends of the Meadows 1.45m. Porter got the nine-year-old mare, a Great Britain Sport Horse by Unbelievable Darco, this winter. The pair first showed in Florida for a few months and then traveled to Europe in May before starting up in Calgary last week. Jumping in the world-renowned International Ring, they made their first win together a big one.
Forty-three entries showed in the first competition of the day with nine clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Porter and Diamonte Darco had the advantage of being last to go over the short course. When no one else was able to finish without fault, they only had the round of two time faults in 52.37 seconds from Christine McCrea and Candy Tribble's Win For Life to beat. Porter explained that he thought he was almost not fast enough, but he galloped down to the final fence and jumped clear in 50.33 seconds to take top honors.
"It was a good jump-off to go last in," the rider smiled. "I was right at the in-gate when Chris went, and I watched her round. It wasn't super slow, but it wasn't all out. I knew that I didn't need to race and have a rail down because I was trying to go too fast. Actually, once I started doing the course and I was coming around to the second to last jump, I thought, 'I'm pretty slow. I might be slower than her.' So I had to kind of race to the last (jump), but it was a wall. Horses tend to back themselves off of that, so it worked out well."
"It's really exciting," Porter said of his momentous win. "I have been coming to Spruce for four years and competing in the International Ring for three years. I have had some good placings in here, but I had not gotten that victory yet, so it is really special to have all of the hard work pay off."
Porter was also excited to get the win with a relatively new horse in Diamonte Darco. He had a great round in the competition with his veteran partner Paloubet as well, but had one time fault to finish just out of the ribbons. Porter explained that the mare has been gradually stepping up to bigger classes, and that although she is only nine years old and a little green at this level of competition, she handled it very well.
"She's pretty fiery; a fiery personality, and she's definitely very sensitive," he said of the ride. "I have adjusted to that. She is very different from my other horse, Paloubet, who is really strong and powerful. I am just sort of trying to hold on to him, whereas with her, it is more of a finesse to it. She's very careful. The distance at the jump is very important for her."
With a fantastic win under his belt, Porter has big plans for the rest of the summer. Diamonte Darco will travel to Kentucky to be his mount at the Adequan FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships while Paloubet will fly over to Europe to give Porter the ride in his first senior Nations Cup team on the United States Under 25 tour in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The 'North American' Tournament continues on Saturday with the $85,000 TD Cup 1.50m and the $210,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup 1.60m. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: $33,500 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m
1 CHIN QUIDAM VDL: Dutch Warmblood / S / 8 Chin Chin x Quidam de Revel
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Hyperion Stud LLC: 0/0/35.63
2 MIMOSA: Swedish Warmblood / M / 10 Cardento x Easy San
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 0/0/36.97
3 CHECK PICOBELLO Z: Zangersheide / G / 8 Cardento x Orlando
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/39.78
4 BALBOA 6: Holsteiner / G / 11 Baloubet du Rouet x Cascadeur
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Moormann, Rolf u. Paul Schockemohle: 0/0/40.87
5 VIEANNE: Dutch Warmblood / M / 12 Andiamo x Voltaire
FRANCES LAND (USA), Frances Land: 0/4/35.21
6 GRAFTON: Selle Francais / S / 8 Calvaro x Vondeen
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 0/4/36.73
7 BRIGHTON: KWPN / G / 8 Contender II x Quick Star
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/4/37.65
8 LUX LADY: Irish Sport Horse / M / 9 Lux Z x Master Imp
RICH FELLERS (USA), Harry & Mollie Chapman: 0/4/38.46
9 G&C FLASH: Hanoverian / G / 12 Forrester x Granessa
TAYLOR ALEXANDER (USA), Alexander LLC: 0/4/39.59
10 ZINNIA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 Mermus R x Darco
ANDREW WELLES (USA), Andrew Welles: 0/4/40.56
11 POLASKO: Oldenburg / G / 11 Polytraum x Grannus
NICOLAS PIZARRO SUAREZ (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro Suarez: 1/72.26
12 DOOLEYS DELUXE: German Warmblood / G / 10 Dinglinger x Unknown
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 1/72.38
Final Results: $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Jumper 1.45m
1 DIAMONTE DARCO: Great Britain Sport Horse / M / 9 Unbelievable Darco x Kriska
WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 0/0/50.34
2 WIN FOR LIFE: Zangersheide / G / 8 Winning Mood x Chatman
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/2/52.37
3 BELIEVE: Dutch Warmblood / M / 8 Ulcato x Burgraaf
DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Blue Star Investments: 0/4/43.95
4 CONTIKI: Swedish Warmblood / G / 8 Contendro x Calido I
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), Coker Farm: 0/4/45.84
5 ACER: Warmblood / G / 9 Pino x Burggraaf
HAP HANSEN (USA), Geraldine Pope Bidwell: 0/4/49.09
6 ANEMONES VICKY: Dutch Warmblood / M / 12 Krunch de Breve x Animo
HECTOR FLORENTINO (DOM), Stransky's Mission Farms: 0/8/44.65
7 TAM TAM HERO: Belgian Warmblood / S / 11 Ogano Sitte x Kebah
ROBERTO TERAN (COL), ARK Partners LLC: 0/8/45.24
8 GENEROSO RM: Warmblood / S / 8 Orame x Bachus
ANTONIO CHEDRAUI JR (MEX), Armando Torrado Martinez: 0/26/68.86
9 AMADORA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 Chin Chin x Indoctro
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/ELIM
10 UNICO: Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 Odermus R x Wuzo
SPENCER BRITTAN (USA), Stransky's Mission Farms: 1/75.28
11 NLF FAVORITE: Belgian Warmblood / M / 9 Action Breaker x Indoctro
EIRIN BRUHEIM (NOR), Nordic Lights Farm: 1/76.78
12 DUTCH AMOURETTA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 9 Dutch Capitol x Wellington
BRENDA RIDDELL (CAN), Silverstar Farms: 1/77.41
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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