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Darragh Kenny bests the rest during WEF 1

Friday, 12 January 2024
CSI3* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W1)

Photo © Sportfot Darragh Kenny and Irwin, winners of the $32,000 Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 1. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Ireland’s Darragh Kenny opened international competition during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $32,000 Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 on Thursday at Wellington International. Kenny and Irwin, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Kannan x Paladin des IFS) owned by HKC Collection LLC, topped a field of 72 horses for the win.

Kenny had his eye on Irwin since the mount was seven before becoming part of the Irish Olympian’s string last year. The former ride of Danish show jumper Emil Hallundbaek, Irwin is on a steady climb to the top.

“To be honest, the horse just keeps getting better and better,” he said. “When I bought him he'd never really jumped more than 1.50m. He was still very green but he feels like an incredible horse.”

Photo © Sportfot Darragh Kenny and Irwin are presented with the Paul Scriver Perpetual Memorial Trophy by Valerie Arcuri, Southeast Key Account Manager with Adequan®. Photo © Sportfot.

Irwin didn’t show any inexperience as he carried Kenny to victory by more than a second over courses built by Nick Granat (USA) in WEF’s International Arena. 

From a large jump-off brimming with horse and rider talent, Kenny stopped the clock over the short course in 36.16 seconds to best runner-up Charlotte Jacobs (USA) on 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Rincoola Milsean, owned by Northstar. Jacobs’ time of 37.84 seconds held for second place while Ireland bookended the podium. Cian O’Connor took third on Fancy de Kergane, a nine-year-old Selle Français stallion owned by Susan Magnier and Coolmore Showjumping, in 38.23 seconds.

Eva Castegren stepped up to purchase Irwin on Kenny’s recommendation, but has been watching her horse compete from afar and sat ringside for the first time this week.

“I'm very lucky that she agreed to buy him and he's been incredible ever since, but she’s never seen him in person,” said Kenny, who made their meeting a winning one. “She's been a great supporter of me for years, so to have a fantastic horse like this for both of us is brilliant.”

Photo © Sportfot Runners-up: Charlotte Jacobs and Rincoola Milsean. Photo © Sportfot.

After this week, Irwin will enjoy a break before making his five-star debut during WEF 5. Kenny’s long-term goals for the gelding include more experience at the five-star level and a possible bid for the FEI World Cup™ Finals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this spring. 

For the win, Kenny earned the Paul Scriver Perpetual Memorial Trophy, established in fond memory of horseman Paul Scriver. 

The Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 was a qualifier for ‘Saturday Night Lights’, which will feature the $140,00 Southern Arches CSI3* Grand Prix at 7pm at Wellington International.


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