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It's a first for Kent Farrington and Greya in the CSIO5* 1.60m €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule

Sunday, 09 June 2024
CSIO5* Jumping International de La Baule 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Kent Farrington and Greya, winners of the CSIO5* 1.60m €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule. Photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping




Kent Farrington and Greya stormed to their first international victory together in Sunday’s CSIO5* 1.60m €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule, that concluded the 2024-edition of Jumping International de La Baule. Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix was part of the Rolex Series, which unites six of the most prestigious shows in the world; Rome, La Baule, Dinard, Dublin, Brussels and Wellington. 

With some of the world’s best horse-and-rider combinations at start, Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix was always going to be a clash of titans. The first-round track set by France’s very own Gregory Bodo counted 14 obstacles and 17 efforts with the time allowed set to 76 seconds. Starting with a Hermes oxer, the 50-strong starting field faced a Rolex Series-wall at fence three, a Rolex triple combination at fence six, a delicate golden plank at fence eight, followed by the open water at fence nine.

Faults were spread out, and it was Austria’s Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x French Kiss) who posted the first clear round as the ninth pair out. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. “I have never asked her to go at that speed before, and she answered great," Farrington said about his 10-year-old Greya.

Ismael Garcia Roque (ESP) and Tirano (Chacco-Blue x Action-Breaker) were kept away from the  jump-off by a single time penalty, while Karl Cook (USA) and Caracole de La Roque (Zandor Z x Kannan), Kent Farrington (USA) and Greya (Colestus x Contender), Kevin Staut (FRA) and Visconti du Telman (Toulon x Dollar du Murier) as well as Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Leone Jei (Baltic VDL x Corland) joined in with Kühner.

Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and James Kann Cruz (Kannan x Cruising), Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Bond Jamesbond de Hay (Diamant de Semilly x Kannan), Armando Trapote (ESP) and Tornado VS (Toulon x Contender), Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Dynamix de Belheme (Snaike de Blondel x Cornet Obolensky), Jérôme Guery (BEL) and Quel Homme de Hus (Quidam de Revel x Candillo 3) delivered clears as well, and as the penultimate pair out, Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Scarlina de Tiji Z (Scendro x Kannan) made it a jump-off between eleven world-class pairs. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The podium in Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule: Kent Farrington, Karl Cook and Gregory Wathelet.

In the jump-off, Karl Cook and Caracole de La Roque blazed around in their signature style – setting the time to beat at 34.21 seconds. Next out, Cook's compatriot Farrington and the 10-year-old Greya switched to turbo gear as well, making the seemingly impossible possible by shaving 0.12 seconds off on Cook’s leading time. Opting for a clear on the safer side, Wathelet and Bond Jamesbond de Hay finished third in 37.79, while Schwizer and Scarlina de Tiji Z slotted into fourth in 40.21, followed by Fuchs and Leone Jei in fifth on a score of four faults in the jump-off. 

“I think here today we had the highest level of competition; the best riders on their best horses, competing,” Farrington told World of Showjumping afterwards. “Whenever you have that – a group of the best horses and riders together – it is always going to be one of the strongest competitions of the year and that is what we saw today.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. “I still can’t be happier with Caracole," Karl Cook said after finishing second.

“I am still in the stage where I am thrilled with how my horse is going, she is still learning and today was a great step forward in our process,” Farrington said about Greya. “I have never asked her to go at that speed before, and she answered great. Our first international win is a Rolex Grand Prix!”

“It was a difficult course,” Farrington commented on Gregory Bodo’s work. “What you saw was a very high-quality field, which is why the course had to be very difficult and there were still enough clears. If you look at the list of those who were clear, it is the best of the best.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "There is a lot at stake in the weeks to come for all of us and I took the safe option today," third-placed Wathelet said.

“The Rolex Series is super exciting for our sport, they keep elevating the level of our sport, which is growing as you see across the world at different events constantly improving, prize money going up, with great support from the public,” Farrington said about the continued support from Rolex and the new Rolex Series initiative. “I actually see our sport in a great place with a lot of enthusiasm and this just raises it to the next level.” 

“I still can’t be happier with Caracole, from Rome to here, what she just keeps doing day in and day out,” second-placed Cook said. “I have always wanted to come here, and I am just so happy.” 

"I am pleased with the result today," third-placed Wathelet said. "I decided to play it safe today, I did not feel that we could have gone faster than we did. There is a lot at stake in the weeks to come for all of us and I took the safe option today." 


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