Irish rider Darragh Kenny and his 13 year old gelding Gael Force (Cavalier Royale x King of Diamonds) earned top honors in round three of the WEF Challenge Cup yesterday at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Eight of the original 42 horse and rider combinations in the class jumped clear to advance to the jump-off round. Competitors were then asked to navigate a short course that displayed dynamic speed and power. Four were able to jump double clear, and it was the fastest round of Darragh Kenny and Gael Force in 43.31 seconds that earned top honors. The pair left out a stride in the last line that made the difference.
Brianne Goutal (USA) and Onira were second fastest with their time of 44.77 seconds. Third place went to McLain Ward (USA) and Louisburg Farm's Vocas with their clear round in 45.29 seconds. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Sinatra had the only other clear jump-off round in 47.65 seconds to finish in fourth place.
Today's victory marked Darragh Kenny's first grand prix win at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. The young rider, who recently turned 23 years old, was very pleased with the class and praised Gael Force on his consistency.
"The horse jumped great; he jumped both rounds fantastic and he has always been a great horse for me," Kenny said. "It was a good track and I knew Brianne was really fast. I knew that there was really no way that I could catch her other than to do my crazy five strides down the last line. It worked out for me at the time, but it was lucky."
Source: Press release from equestriansport.com by Jennifer Wood. For more information visit www.equestriansport.com
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