Ireland’s Darragh Kenny laid it all on the line, besting a three-horse jump-off to win the $213,300 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington, Presented by Canadian Pacific. The penultimate east coast qualifier for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas took place under idyllic conditions on Sunday at scenic Deeridge Farms in Wellington.
Last to go on course, Kenny followed a pathfinding Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue on 39 seconds, and a flat-out Cassio Rivetti (BRA) aboard Bacara d’Archonfosse, who stopped the clock at 38.29. Opting for his own plan, Kenny added a stride to the second-to-last oxer but did one less to the final fence. The decision secured him a dominant win on a time of 36.70 seconds with the 10-year-old gelding, Classic Dream.
“He’s such an incredible horse, because he’s so simple to ride. He just wants to jump the jumps clear,” said a delighted Kenny.
“I could take a really big risk [at the double, because] I knew that he would back up and jump it quite well,” he explained. “I think that helped me with my horse—he has a different stride than the other two.”
The technical first round track, designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, proved a significant challenge to many of the 40 starters in the field. “I do believe that the triple bar to the grey oxer dictated the whole course for a lot of riders and created trouble later on, because they were well opened up,” Wade reflected. “I think there were a lot of riders that feel that if they got a second shot, they would go clear.”
Third to go in the order, Ryan became the first competitor to solve Wade’s puzzle. “The course designer did his job, and he created faults everywhere,” Ryan said, adding that the event was Eddie Blue’s first big show of the season.
“For sure, we’ve been a pair for a long time, and he has a great brain,” Ryan said of his mount. “When you come to big venues like this, with a lot of atmosphere and beautiful jumps, a horse like that really shines.”
Riding his partner of only six months, Bacara d’Archonfosse, Cassio Rivetti said that he hoped his second-place finish would help to secure his spot on the Brazilian team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA CSIO5* at Deeridge Farms in two weeks. “I don’t know if I’m still on the team, but for sure, [she’ll be the fifth horse]. We’ll see what the chef d’equipe decides,” said Rivetti, whose performance on Sunday also moved him into second place in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American Western Sub-League.
As part of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, the start list for the qualifier boasted many of the top international names in the sport, including Beezie Madden (USA) and Karl Cook (USA), the two current leaders of the North American Eastern and Western Sub-Leagues, respectively, and World No.1 in the Longines Rankings, Martin Fuchs of Switzerland.
“I’m just delighted at the quality of the sport and the riders and horses that are coming to the event,” said Lou Jacobs, Series Co-Founder alongside siblings Charlie Jacobs and Katie Jacobs Robinson. “We’re trying to continually reinvent ourselves and become better each year. It’s well on its way.”
For Kenny, who co-owns Classic Dream with Ann Thompson, victory in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington Presented by Canadian Pacific is a harbinger of good things to come. “I always felt [Classic Dream] was a top grand prix horse and that he could go to the highest level. I think he’s only starting to show that now,” Kenny said. “I think in the future, he’ll be one of the best horses in the world.”
The 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series® at Deeridge Farms continues February 11-16, 2020 with Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week CSIO5*/CSI2*, featuring the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA, the only qualifier in the country for Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona, Spain.