Lexington, Kentucky, USA – May 19, 2018 – Saturday of the Kentucky Spring Classic closed with the week’s highlight event, the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI 3*, honoring the late Mary Rena Murphy. Forty-one horse-and-rider combinations were tested over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 16-effort course which saw 11 athletes finish clear to move into the jump-off round, but once again Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was unstoppable to claim the Saturday night victory under the lights on the second week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series, this time with brand new mount, Balou du Reventon.
Kenny and Ann Thompson’s Balou du Reventon just started showing together two weeks ago, but they are on an impressive streak after finishing second in Thursday’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI 3* and jumping to a number of clear rounds during their new partnership in Kentucky. Saturday night amplified their success as they flew to a clear round in 41.54 seconds to capture the featured grand prix victory. The 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion is already showing promise as an option for Kenny in this year’s World Equestrian Games.
Margie Engle (USA) & Royce
Early pathfinder, Margie Engle (USA) was the first to produce a clear round with long-time partner Royce, and first to return for the jump-off round. She and Gladewinds Partners, LLC’s 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion put on the pressure with a clear round in a time of 42.08 seconds, but their time was just overtaken by Kenny and the pair finished in second place.
Rowan Willis (AUS) & Blue Movie
Rowan Willis (AUS) and his own Blue Movie, an 11-year-old Anglo European Warmblood mare, followed with a clear jump-off round in a time of 42.55 seconds, speeding to a third place finish. The pair recently traveled to the United States in February to capture a notable victory in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI 5* at HITS Ocala.
The family of the late Mary Rena Murphy presents Darragh Kenny with the award, along with owner of Balou du Reventon, Ann Thompson
The Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix is held every year in honor of the late Mary Rena Murphy, an important part of American horse show history. Murphy was known for helping many top hunter and jumper professionals begin their careers, in addition to being a successful horse show organizer. She began her career in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. She is most known for promoting the Kentucky Horse Park and helping shape the park into what it so well-known for today, world class hunter and jumper shows that not only cater to world class competition, but also to all levels of the equestrian sport.
Competition will resume in the Rolex Stadium Sunday for the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic, highlighting national jumper competition with the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix followed by the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix set to begin at 3 p.m.
From the Winner’s Circle
Darragh Kenny – $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* winner
On his plan:
“The course was really nice. Guilherme [Jorge] did a super job – he always does a brilliant job. It made for a very good jump-off having 11 clear [rounds]. I was very happy with the way my horse jumped. I just kind of did my plan and it worked out very well. In the jump-off, Margie went quick and I just took a chance with him and I ran and it worked out today. I think to the vertical I was very quick because I could take a big risk. I thought there wasn’t much of a chance of him knocking it down because he’s so careful, so I thought take a big risk and hopefully it pays off.”
On Balou Du Reventon:
“I’ve known the horse for a long time. I always thought he was an amazing, incredible horse. I never thought I’d be lucky enough to get the chance to ride him and I was very lucky that my owner, Ann Thompson, decided to buy the horse for me and it’s one of the most incredible horses I’ve ever sat on in my life. He doesn’t want to knock jumps down. I think he jumped eight rounds over the last two weeks and he didn’t knock a jump down once. This is only my second week showing the horse, so it’s really incredible. He’s really one of the most talented horses I’ve ever sat on in my entire life and it’s unbelievable – he just doesn’t want to hit jumps. It’s crazy.”
On future plans this year:
“Babalou, another one of my horses, is already in Europe and she does St. Tropez and Cannes [for the Global Champions Tour], so it was cool that he stepped up and did so well. The plan is that he is supposed to be another option for me for the World Equestrian Games and it looks like he’s going to be that, so we’ll just keep building him and hopefully I get there.”
Margie Engle – second place
On her plan for the jump-off:
“I was first in the jump-off today, so I wanted to go medium-fast to put a little pressure on the ten people to follow me. With ten people behind me I knew it would get quite fast. Just showing [Royce] here I know that the footing is always fantastic here and it takes little out of the horses to jump. Royce hasn’t shown for about seven weeks so I’m just trying to do a class. He felt great today. He was clear the other day and I elected not to jump-off, because I was trying to save him for tonight. I didn’t go crazy fast tonight. His turns were really nice and I was just practicing staying smooth with him. I didn’t want to take any chances because right now I’m just trying to keep him in bubble wrap until the summer because he still has observation events [for the World Equestrian Games].”
“He has such a fantastic personality. He is one of the sweetest horses, especially from being a stallion. He is just a happy guy. He is laid back in the barn. He likes to sleep to a lot. He plays with everything, everything is a big game to him. He really thinks that everything is a toy. He loves to grab my stick, the ladder, the broom. He is like a big puppy dog. I’ve had him for seven years. It took awhile to get him riding nice. He always had the ability and the scope and the carefulness. He’s always had an unbelievable talent, it was just difficult getting the rideability. It’s something that I’m always working on. He is a big bulky horse, so I’m always working on getting him flexible. He is like a big football player so I work hard to keep him moving.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I love Kentucky Horse Shows and that’s why I brough [Royce] here. We don’t have any hills in Florida, so I love having the big open fields to ride him up and down. It does a great job of working on his muscles without jumping a lot. The footing here, I think that this footing is better than almost anywhere else in the world. It can pour or have tornadoes and you go in and the footing is perfect. The horses are jump well and I think you can see that because the courses are all difficult enough, but they all jump well with a lot clear. Whatever they’ve done with this footing here, I wish we could emulate that everywhere.”
Robbie and Renie Murphy – son and daughter of Mary Rena Murphy
Renie on what it means to have this grand prix:
“My mom started these horse shows in the early 90’s. At that time they only had about 200 stalls and now we’ve grown to be a huge horse show. So she was really instrumental in starting this part, the foundation. There’s a ring named after her, the Murphy Ring. My brother and I took over when she passed away and it’s just an honor to recognize her in this way. Years ago, when we didn’t have any sponsors Hugh Kincannon called it the “You and Me Prix” because we were sponsoring it. It was really good. It’s so nice to see such nice horses here now.”
Robbie on what it means to have this grand prix :
“When Hugh and Mom started it there were only 200 stalls and this used to be a grass ring. It’s become to great now, such great people in the class. Todd Minikus was a good buddy of mine and he won last year, so that was special. My mom would be very happy to see what things have come to, and what the park has come to now. She started all the shows here so it’s nice to be in the top ring now. My mom is a hard act to follow.”
$131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI 3*
Place / Rider (Country) & Horse – R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Balou Du Reventon – 0 | 75.97 / 0 | 41.54
2. Margie Engle (USA) & Royce – 0 | 71.35 / 0 | 42.08
3. Rowan Willis (AUS) & Blue Movie – 0 | 74.36 / 0 | 42.55
4. Javier Fernandez (MEX) & End Good All Good – 0 | 77.45 / 0 | 46.66
5. Richie Moloney (IRL) & Carrabis Z – 0 | 76.61 / 0 | 51.02
6. Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Hunters Conlypso – 0 | 72.73 / 4 | 41.24
7. Scott Keach (AUS) & Fedor – 0 | 74.74 / 4 | 42.74
8. Jack hardin Towell (USA) & Corona 93 – 0 | 74.83 / 4 | 43.31
9. Ali Wolff (USA) & Quirie 2 – 0 | 75.48 / 4 | 43.38
10. Eugenio Garza (MEX) & Armani SL Z – 0 | 75.61 / 4 | 45.35
11. Andrew Bourns (IRL) & Diego – 0 | 74.04 / 8 | 46.06
12. Alexa Lowe (USA) & Udsturm du Lys – USA / 4 | 73.65
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Media Group / Barre Dukes
Categories: CSI 5*