Wellington, FL – March 14, 2018 – The tenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got off to a strong start for Darragh Kenny (IRL) on Wednesday, March 14, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. The Irish rider claimed a one-two finish in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic CSI 3* riding Chakito and Horst van de Mispeleare, respectively.
Week ten of WEF, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, runs March 14-18. Jumper highlights include the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 3* on Thursday, March 15, and the $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17. A 12-week circuit, WEF hosts hunter, jumper, and equitation competition until April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
On Wednesday, 68 entries contested the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic CSI 3* power and speed format class, but none could catch Kenny. He and Chakito, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC, stopped the clock in a winning time of 36.799 seconds.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Horst van de Mispeleare
Kenny’s second mount in the class, Horst van de Mispeleare, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Hammond Horsepower Ltd., finished in a close second with a time of 37.018 seconds, and Karen Polle (JPN) took third in 37.647 seconds riding her own Little Lord 90.
“These 1.45m speed classes and two phase classes are so fast nowadays,” said Kenny. “Every time you go in, you have to go absolutely 100 percent to win or you might as well just school around, because you’re not going to get a ribbon any other way.
“The course suited me with both horses,” said Kenny of the track set by Olympic individual silver medalist and Pan American Games designer Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. “I didn’t have to go too crazy at the start. It was a nice two phase, so it was nice to go around the first phase and get them both going around good. Then in the jump-off part, both of mine are quite good at galloping at jumps, so it suited them both.”
Kenny’s winning mount, Chakito, is generally ridden by his owner, Teddy Vlock, who trains with Kenny. “I’m just riding him for a little bit now, and then Teddy will take him over again at the end of circuit. He’s a really good horse. I think a lot of him,” said Kenny.
Kenny also spoke highly of his second place entry, Horst van de Mispeleare, who he began riding a month ago.
“It’s actually one that my girlfriend, [Jessica Mendoza], used to ride,” said Kenny. “Jess and I are very good between the two of us – whatever doesn’t work for one can work for the other. We swap and change a little bit and see what works, and the horse seems to work for me. I think it’s a really cool horse.”
Darragh Kenny (IRL) in his awards presentation ceremony with Mark Norman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate and ringmaster Steve Rector.
Kenny will next point both horses at the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI 3* on Friday, March 16. The tenth week of WEF continues on Thursday, March 15, with the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 3* as well as a championship for the Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’ division.
Full Results here.
Photos: © Sportfot