He’s really aggressive and quite a handful,” said Kent Farrington of his veteran championships mount, Voyeur, after the 15-year-old Dutchbred powerhouse put on quite a show during the awards ceremony of the $150,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto.
After a masterful performance that had the crowd in the Ricoh Coliseum oohing and aahing over a brilliantly executed rollback turn that won Kent the class, Voyeur was still full of energy.
He bounced throughout the ceremony, at one point coming uncomfortably close to Longines Canada brand manager Ian Charbonneau, who took the incident in stride with good humor.
“I normally don’t do the prizegivings with him,” Kent observed about Voyeur, “and I thought he was going actually to be a little calmer. So I think he’s taken himself out of that job now for awhile again. He almost killed one sponsor.”
(To read more about Voyeur's care routine read our feature story from the January 2017 issue.)
Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge designed a route that may not have been the biggest, but it was technical enough, bringing back six of 21 entries for the jump-off. A highlight of the tiebreaker for the enthusiastic crowd was a long run from fence one to two, both verticals. Voyeur did it in 12 strides and with that impressive rollback to the third obstacle, an oxer, clocked a time of 35.51 seconds for a fault-free trip. Beezie Madden, who followed Kent into the ring, did 11 strides along the first line with the ever-improving Breitling LS, but had a rail at the oxer. Her time of 35.78 seconds was faster than the clear trips of Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam on Main Road (36.84) and Sharn Wordley of New Zealand with Barnetta (43.48), second and third respectively, but that was still only good enough for fourth.
Canada’s seemingly ageless Ian Millar, who is 70 by the calendar but rides a whole lot younger, finished fifth on Dixson (40.53) with a knockdown.
More news and notes from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto:
· At 95 years old, the Royal is a regal bastion of tradition. Women in evening gowns and men in white tie and tails, along with crimson-clad mounties give the show a special character reminiscent of another era.
· The Royal is one of Kent Farrington's favorite competitions.
Recounting memories of his first visit to the Royal, now a regular stop on his schedule, Kent said, “It felt like going back in time … it reminded me of something you see out of a movie. It’s one of my favorite shows.”
· Neither Shane nor Sharn felt they could have beaten Kent’s time if they had a chance to re-ride their jump-off trips. Said Shane: “I blew a few jump-offs this year by trying to be too quick. I have to be realistic with a 9-year-old.” Said Sharn: “My horse has a pace that he likes…Get him one notch out of that pace and he doesn’t particularly take to it very well.”
· The course designer at the Royal never has much of a chance to assess the field for the show’s biggest-money class, since most of the horses involved only began jumping in the arena the day before. But as always, Gui was right on point with his test.
· Defending champion McLain Ward, who had a heartbreaking rail at the last fence of the first round with his number one mount, HH Azur, to finish 12th, leads the Eastern Sub-League of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League. Actually, as the reigning Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals titleholder, he is automatically eligible for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals in Paris.
Click here for full results of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto.