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Kenny claims Merrill Lynch Speed Derby at Hampton Classic

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Darragh Kenny with Gatsby. Photo by the Hampton Classic.With a scorching round on Gatsby in the $15,000 Merrill Lynch Speed Derby, Darragh Kenny padded his lead in the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge, the bonus that goes to the rider who earns the most open jumper points during the Hampton Classic.

Gatsby's time of 71.765 seconds created a gap of more than 1 second between him and KM What Ever RV (Jeffery Welles/72.664) and Fineman (Shane Sweetnam/72.997). Kenny stands atop the Longines Rider Challenge with 208 points, ahead of fellow Irishmen Richie Moloney (155) and Sweetnam (140). Welles stands fourth with 115 points.

Kenny, 26, of Ocala, FL, said he particularly enjoyed the Merrill Lynch class, his second victory of the week on Gatsby, who also finished second in a third class. "It was really a tough class, a fast class! But he's been amazing this week. He felt like he was really trusting me today, and I'm very lucky to be able to ride him," said Kenny.

Gatsby's owner, Allison Toffolon, normally shows the gray gelding, but she's gone off to college. Kenny said, though, that he couldn't take any credit for preparing Gatsby for his performance this week, as he'd been showing in Europe all month in preparation for riding on the Irish team at the Alltech FEI Word Equestrian Games next week. He gave the credit to his partner and assistant, Maggie McAlary.

"I said the other day that it was just my day to win, but now I'm hoping that maybe this is my week-and that I can hold on to this lead," even though he's not going to be here on Sunday for the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, presented by Land Rover, because he flies to France on Saturday night. "We're having a great week, and I hope we can finish it up well," Kenny added.

Source: Press release from the Hampton Classic.

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