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Kent Farrington wins 300,000€ Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Sunday, 14 May 2017
CSI5* Royal Windsor Horse Show 2017

Photo (c) Royal Windsor Horse Show. Kent Farrington and Sherkan D'Amaury. Photo (c) Royal Windsor Horse Show.

World no. one Kent Farrington (USA) did it again, and won the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show for a second year in a row – this time riding the 11-year-old Sherkan D’Amaury (Kannan x Quick Star).

It was a fair course build by Bob Ellis consisting of thirteen fences and seventeen jumps with some spooky fillings, and several roll-backs. The faults were spread out all over the course, but fence no. five – a vertical with a white plank on top on seven strides from the first combination – and the final line with an oxer-vertical combination with six strides to the last massive oxer caused a bit more faults than the rest.

Twelve out of the thirty riders in the CSI5* 1.60m Grand Prix produced clears in the first round with four riders from the US, one from Canada, three from Great Britain, one from Austria, two from Italy and one from Switzerland moving on to the jump-off.

Michael Whitaker (GBR) and JB’s Hot Stuff (Locarno 62 x Cavalier Royale) – winners of the CSI5* Grand Prix of Antwerp a few weeks ago – were first to go in the jump-off that consisted of eight fences and nine jumps with several short as well as very difficult turns and stretches to gallop. Whitaker had a good start, but had to see two poles fall towards the end of the course.

Next out was Guy Williams (GBR) with Rouge de Ravel (Ultimo van ter Moude x Quouglof Rouge), who did a speedy clear in 43,45 seconds that looked like it would be very hard to beat. Max Kühner (AUT) with Cornet Kalua (Cornet Obolensky x Platin) delivered a clear as well, but was two seconds slower than Williams keeping the crowds in the belief that Williams would end up at the very top of the result list.

Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA) and his mare Bohemian Rhapsody (Balourado x Fruhling/Landjonker) had a misunderstanding which resulted in a refusal on the London Bridge fence at no. two. After giving the mare some confidence Bucci could continue and cleared the rest of the jump-off track.

Janika Sprunger (SUI) did a great round together with Aris CMS (BMC Nassau x Amethist), but the last fence stopped them from going clear. Jessica Springsteen (USA) was next out riding Cynar VA (Clarimo x Alcatraz), and she delivered some brilliant turns in constant forward gallop and took over the lead in 43,13 seconds. Once again it looked like the winning round, as it looked hard to cut the turns or be faster anywhere.

However, Kent Farrington would prove this idea to be wrong. With full speed throughout the jump-off, Farrington and Sherkan D’Amaury crossed the finish line in an unbelievable 39,97 seconds. Incredibly enough Farrington would not be the one delivering the fastest round of the day – Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 (Forsyth FRH x Drosselklang II) made it hard to breathe when they went for a pure race from the beginning to the end shaving off an unreal two seconds on Farrington’s time, stopping the clock at 37,52 seconds. But, after getting too far off to the second last fence – a huge oxer – Lamaze had to accept a record of four faults.

Lauren Hough’s (USA) mare Adare (Royal Bravour x Burggraaf) was a bit spooky during the first round and it took some fighting spirit and excellent riding from the American rider to qualify for the jump-off. The second time around Hough got a fault on the London Bridge with a more relaxed mare, finishing the course in 42,91 seconds.

Laura Kraut (USA) did a beautiful round with Deauville S (Diamant de Semilly x Lux Z), that is fully back after a longer injury break taking over the second place from Springsteen. But, Kraut didn’t get to keep it for long. As next rider in the ring, Scott Brash (GBR) did his very best to give the crowds a home win riding Ursula XII (Ahorn x Papageno) but with 40,97 seconds he wasn’t quite fast enough. 

With speed specialists Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Halifax van het Kluizebos (Heartbreaker x Fetiche du Pas) as last to go, it was really exiting to the very end. De Luca gave Farrington a run for the money but still he ended up a second behind, squeezing in between Farrington and Brash after a jump-off that offered the audience at the Rolex Grand Prix some of the best sport of the year.

Speaking at the Rolex Grand Prix press conference, Kent said, “I was really thrilled with my horse, he is just stepping up to this level and he was unbelievable, I couldn’t have asked for more. This is one of my favourite shows and I’m not just saying that because I won here today. There’s a combination of an amazing setting, an unbelievable crowd, top course designing and great footing. That is the best of the best, and now with Rolex stepping up and making this a 5* event, it’s on par with the best in the world.” 

Source: Press release from Revolution Sports + Entertainment / Photo (c) Royal Windsor Horse Show

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