Excitement is the Word at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington

A field of 40 riders from nine countries gave fans something to cheer about in the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park.

One of the most exciting grands prix of the year played out last night in the Alltech Arena over a stiff course that took a toll—Longines World No. 1 Kent Farrington on Creedance and World No. 2 McLain Ward aboard HH Callas didn’t even make the nine-horse jump-off that had master riders facing off against the younger set.

Ireland’s Denis Lynch demonstrated skill honed over the years, as he and RMF Echo cashed in on a long gallop to the final fence of Michel Vaillancourt’s wide-open route for the tiebreaker. His time of 36.16 seconds was challenged by the USA’s Lauren Tisbo with Coriandolo di Ribano, an Italian-bred stallion. Her good effort fell just short, in 36.52 seconds, but ahead of Swiss star and 2007 FEI World Cup Champion Beat Mandli, third on Dsarie (37.80), his winning ride in last weekend’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington.

Irish rider Denis Lynch won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington with RMF Echo. Nancy Jaffer

Denis proudly discussed his mount’s “special way of jumping” in non-classical style but noted, “he’s got incredible heart and tries a lot for his rider.” The most important thing with horses, he pointed out, “is what’s in their head; he wants to leave the jumps up.”

Citing Denis’ vast experience, Lauren said she didn’t really expect to catch his time with her flamboyant stallion, who kicks up his heels after finishing a course. She noted her horse had been out of work with an injury earlier this year, so he’s just getting back into the swing of things.

Lauren Tisbo nearly caught the leader in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping with her exuberant Coriandolo di Ribano, who likes to congratulate himself after a round over fences by letting go with a few bucks. Nancy Jaffer

Other news and notes from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington:

· RMF Echo is quite quirky. Monica McCourt selected Echo, who she owns with her husband, Frank (the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner who is a partner in the Longines Global Champions Tour with Jan Tops). She reveals she picked Echo because, “I had a feeling. He’s quirky, but he’s one of those horses … I can see in his eyes, he tries so hard. He’s very nervous, he bites, he spins. He’s got some strange behavior, but when he gets in the ring, something goes off in his brain and he focuses on the jumping.”

· Laura Kraut had the advantage of going last with the speedy Confu, but a rail down put her seventh. Even so, her performance throughout the show gave her a lease on a new Audi, along with the titles of the show’s Leading Jumper Rider and Leading Lady Rider.

· Three riders under age 25 made the top eight: Jennifer Gates, 21, who will compete in the national U25 championship as the show wraps up today, rode the lively Pumped Up Kicks to third with a 40.79-second round, while Adrienne Sternlicht, 24, was sixth on Cristalline and Emily Moffitt, 19, finished eighth with Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve.

· Alison Robitaille remained in first place in the Eastern Sub-League of the Longines FEI World Cup™ North American League with 42 points. Canadian Isabell Lapierre is second on 40 and McLain Ward (39) third. Jennifer Gates, who attends Stanford University in California, earned 13 points that counted toward the Western Sub-League, where she stands second with a total of 37 behind Richard Spooner (38).

· Denis Lynch’s win put him in a tie for fourth in the Western European League.

Click here for the full results of the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington.

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