It was a win for Kent Farrington (USA) and Blue Angel in the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6. Held as a speed class, the pair topped the two fastest times both held by Ireland's Kevin Babington, who finished second and third respectively with Shorapur and Mark Q.
Great Britain's Richard Jeffery is the course designer at The Stadium at PBIEC for week six competition and set a challenging speed track for 74 competitors in Thursday's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 with 14 clear rounds. Kevin Babington and Mark Q were the first pair to clear the course, fifth to go, with a time of 75.34 seconds that held on to the lead for most of the class to eventually finish third. Fifty-seven rounds later, it was Babington again who beat his own time to move into the lead with Shorapur in 72.91 seconds. It looked like the rider might have a one-two finish on his hands, but Kent Farrington got the edge with Robin Parsky's Blue Angel to win it in 71.51 seconds with just four horses left to go.
Farrington and Blue Angel have developed a great partnership and are no strangers to the winner's circle. The rider noted that the day's tight speed track suited his horse quite well in addition to the advantage of going at the very end. Blue Angel is a 2002 Anglo European mare by Luidam x Ascendant.
"I saw Kevin's first horse go," Farrington noted. "Kevin is a great rider; I thought he had a really competitive round to start, but I had an advantage there going at the end. I have a very fast horse, so for her it is kind of just doing her round and knowing if there is something incredible that she has to do. I thought today the course really suited her. In the small arena, her natural speed just kind of carried her around all by itself."
"I think generally the horse is very fast across the ground," Farrington said of his winning round. "I did the leave-out strides the same as everybody else. I think she had a great turn to the skinny fence and a great rollback to the last line, that's probably where she made up the time. When there's a small ring like that and all of the horses have to do more or less the same track, it is an advantage to be on a handy horse like that, that has natural foot speed. You are already going to be a second up on everybody just with the horse's gallop."
"It is a very consistent horse," the rider described. "She has been a great addition to my team of horses and she is a real winner. She is an opinionated mare like most of the good mares are. She has a little bit her own way of going and the way she wants to do things. I think now, I know her well enough that we sort of have an agreement of terms, a little bit my way and a little bit her way, and it works out pretty well."
In addition to the prize money in Thursday's class, Farrington earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG 'Go Clean for the Green' promotion for wearing his SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.
Farrington plans to show Blue Angel again in Friday night's $84,000 Salamander Hotels & Resorts Valentine's Grand Prix CSI 3* and will then bring her back out for CSIO week.
Although he got beat in the end, Kevin Babington had a great day with his second and third place finishes aboard Shorapur and Mark Q, and spoke about each of his mounts.
"It's never over until Kent has gone," Babington admitted. "I was very surprised that Mark Q's time held up as long as it did. It was a careful course and those table A speeds always end up harder than you think. He tried really hard today, but I knew there were a few places that they could catch me. It just turned out that a lot of the very fast ones had faults, so it just kind of worked out."
"When I went on my younger horse, it's her first time really moving up to this level here in Florida, so she really impressed me that she was able to go as fast as she did," Babington noted. "She is naturally a faster horse than Mark Q. She is fast across the air, she is just learning to turn a little better."
Shorapur, a 2005 Hanoverian mare by Stakkato Gold x Drosselklang II, did the eight-year-old young jumper classes last year and moved up to some national grand prix classes this summer, but Babington is taking his time with her. "I have really high hopes for that horse," the rider stated. "My plan down here is just to keep her in the 1.50m and not do Saturday night classes, but we are just playing it by ear right now."
"She is quite sensitive," Babington detailed. "She is very much a mare, but she is leveling out in the ring. She was very hot when I first got her. She likes you to sit a little bit quiet, and I ride her without a spur. She has so much scope and she is extremely careful, so I am just trying not to move too fast with her and not move her up the ranks too fast. She is the kind of horse you could easily do that because she is so brave, but she is also extremely careful, so I have to be careful"
Babington has a list of great achievements with his more experienced partner, Mark Q, a 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively. He explained that although it is a comfortable relationship, the horse always keeps things interesting. "He is a different kettle of fish," Babington laughed. "He comes out and you never know what hat he is going to have on. The first week I jumped him down here he was too strong and then I thought he jumped extremely well last week, but I over bridled him. On Sunday I did him in the 1.50m and put him back in a softer bridle and he was fantastic, and he was really good today, so I think I have the bridle sorted out now."
"He has never felt better in his body," Babington added. "He feels very strong and straight. I am hoping he has turned the corner. He was always weaker on one side, and it just took a long time to get him balanced. He is quite opinionated, so he doesn't allow you to train him much, but he is getting better all the time. He is eleven this year, so he has matured a lot. I love that horse; he keeps me thinking."
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6
1. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/71.51
2. SHORAPUR: 2005 Hanoverian mare by Stakkato Gold x Drosselklang II
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Shorapur LLC: 0/72.91
3. MARK Q: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/75.34
4. ZZ TOP VH SCHAARBROEK Z: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Zandor Z x Latus I
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Hollow Creek Farm: 0/75.67
5. CAFINO: 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Roderik 856
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/76.04
6. ROCKY W: 1998 KWPN gelding by Libero H x Corofino
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), Kaitlin Campbell: 0/76.85
7. DAKOTA: 2003 Belgian Warmblood mare by Calvados Ex Sable Rose x Cash
PAIGE JOHNSON (USA), Salamander Farm: 0/77.90
8. BAN BAN: 2001 stallion
JUAN MANUEL GALLEGO (COL), Aurelio Piedrahita: 0/78.47
9. HELLO SUNSHINE: 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Hardi
SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Lord & Lady Harris/Lord & Lady Kirkham: 0/79.07
10. ANEMONE'S VICKY: 2002 KPWN mare by Krunch de Breve x Animo
HECTOR FLORENTINO (DOM), Stransky's Mission Farms, Inc: 0/79.11
11. CEONTO: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini I
KAREN CUDMORE (CAN), Blair Cudmore: 0/79.48
12. CISCO'S ZIDANE: 2004 KWPN mare by Lupicor x Baloubet du Rouet
ROOSJE BROUWER (NED), Stal Thijssen BV: 0/81.15
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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