Kent Farrington was on fire today, topping the $50,000 Hermès Classic with his talented mount Willow by besting a nine-horse jump-off with a double clear effort in 37.91 seconds. Forty-one of the country's top equestrian athletes turned out for the event at the 2013 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W, held at Old Salem Farm, but it was Farrington who had all the answers to beat Ireland's Darragh Kenny with Prof De La Roque and Argentina's Max Amaya riding Cartier, finishing second and third, respectively.
Ireland's Alan Wade built today's challenging track on the Grand Prix Field, which included an oxer-vertical double combination, and difficult final line with an oxer to a vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination that finished with an uphill vertical. Only nine were able to complete the course without fault, although a tight time allowed had three riders finishing with a single time fault.
For the jump-off, the competitors began with the first oxer in the final line of the original course to the oxer of the triple combination, before jumping a single vertical with a bending line to the double combination. They finished over two new fences before galloping to a single airy vertical.
Only four of the returning athletes managed to complete a second faultless round, the first of which came from Kent Farrington and Willow, owned by Amalaya Investments of Houston, TX. The duo set the target by leaving a stride out to the double combination and galloping easily over the final vertical. They crossed the finish line in 37.91 seconds, which would prove uncatchable.
"This horse has a very large stride and I just tried to take advantage of that in a couple of the lines," explained Farrington. "I actually did one less in the combination, which I don't think many horses can do. That's a very unique horse that he can open up his stride that much and still be able to jump a double well."
Darragh Kenny made a good effort to beat Farrington's time aboard Prof De La Roque, owned by Postage Stamp Farm of Ridgefield, CT, and despite their sharp inside turns to the final obstacles, they fell just short of the leaders with a time of 38.49 seconds, which held up for second place.
Paige Johnson managed to post the next jump-off round without error riding Dakota, owned by Salamander Farm of The Plains, VA, but although they were able to leave all the rails intact, they broke the beam in 41.38 seconds for fourth place.
It was Max Amaya who slipped into the third place position with Cartier, owned by Stonehenge Stables of Ocean, NJ. They held the same pace as Johnson as they cleared the course, clocking in at 41.36 seconds, just 2/100ths of a second faster, stealing the yellow ribbon and sealing Farrington's victory.
"This is actually my student, Megan Nusz's horse," admitted Farrington. "I rode him one time before and I just started riding him here at this show. He's been a good horse for her she's won classes on him as well and she was nice enough to let me ride him for a little bit. He's careful and a little bit spooky, but he has a very big stride so he likes a lot of support and keep him confident."
Tomorrow, Farrington will compete in the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W with his veteran mount Uceko. "That's been a long time partner of mine," said Farrington. "He's had a great season and he's got some more good rounds in him this year."
Results- Class 102, $50,000 HERMES CLASSIC CSI 4*
1/648/WILLOW /KENT FARRINGTON /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/37.910/ /
2/444/PROF DE LA ROQUE /DARRAGH KENNY /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/38.490/ /
3/266/CARTIER /MAX AMAYA /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/41.360/ /
4/327/DAKOTA /PAIGE JOHNSON /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/41.380/ /
5/348/ZAFIRA /KENT FARRINGTON /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/37.250/ /
6/472/CASSINJA /ALISON ROBITAILLE /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/40.590/ /
7/323/WAOMI /MEAGAN NUSZ /0/0/0/0.000/8/0/8/40.010/ /
8/516/CELENA Z /MARGIE ENGLE /0/0/0/0.000/8/0/8/41.590/ /
9/398/CHANEL /ROBERTO TERAN /0/0/0/0.000/8/0/8/41.790/ /
10/62/CYRANEIKY /DEREK BRAUN /0/1/1/76.910/ / // / /
11/688/MTM CENTANO /TRACY FENNEY /0/1/1/77.380/ / // / /
12/645/QUATTRO QUEEN /JUDY GAROFALO TORRES /0/1/1/78.180/ / ////
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group.
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