Lexington, Kentucky, USA. – October 30, 2019 – Donning festive costumes to celebrate the Halloween season, 57 horse-and-rider partnerships representing 10 nations tested their footspeed Wednesday evening in the $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI 4*, the first show jumping class of the 2019 National Horse Show CSI 4*-W. Ranked No. 9 in the world based on the Longines FEI standings, Darragh Kenny (IRL) proved why he deserves that distinction with a rapid navigation of the course with the reins on Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Billy Dorito, besting a field comprised of riders in guises such as the Flintstones, Toy Story characters and the Joker, among many other inventive outfits.
Operating under a one-round speed format, the class challenged exhibitors to be quick and careful over designer Ken Krome’s (USA) 13-effort track, which ultimately only saw a total of 26 clear rounds from the initial start list. Riding first in the order, Katie Dinan (USA) and Brego R’N B wasted no time as the first pair to successfully tackle the course without incurring any faults, serving as the trailblazers and setting the standard at 72.46 seconds.
Just a few trips later still early in the order of go, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) substantially improved upon his peer’s time, slicing across the course and tripping the timers in 64.11 seconds aboard Karlin Van’t Vennehof to propel themselves to the early lead.
Daniel Coyle (IRL) & CHS Krooze
Amazingly trimming even more time off the clock, Daniel Coyle (IRL) and CHS Krooze maneuvered the pattern at a breakneck pace, galloping across the finish line almost ten full seconds faster in 53.80 seconds. Their time would not hold for long though, as fellow Irishman Kenny jockeyed Billy Dorito to the slightly faster time of 53.74 seconds, capturing the lead by mere milliseconds as the 16th duo in the order.
More than 40 subsequent contenders, which featured costumes such as jockeys, a judge, Mario and Luigi, multiple generations of Madonna and more, chased down the frontrunners over the remainder of the class, but the swift speed put forth by Kenny and Billy Dorito proved uncatchable, solidifying the Irish partnership as the 2019 winners of the $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI 4*.
Andy Kocher (USA) & Fashion V
Dressed as a skeleton, Coyle retained second position with his own CHS Krooze, and Andy Kocher (USA) jumped to the final podium spot aboard Eye Candy Jumpers’ Fashion V, breaking the beam in 54.070 seconds as Freddie Mercury and his golden steed.
Appropriately outfitted for the Kentucky crowd, Sloane Coles (USA) dressed as a bottle of bourbon for her ride aboard Calisto 26. Going all out with a bodysuit and cut-out photos of the famous Kentucky liquor, she was awarded the Best Costume Award for her creative efforts.
The 2019 National Horse Show will return Thursday, showcasing the $36,000 International Jumper Faults Converted and $135,000 International Jumper Classic in the evening. Friday will resume show jumping competition with the afternoon’s $36,000 EquiJet Accumulator Class, and the weekend’s feature events will be the $25,000 Hollow Brook Wealth Management Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix and $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup ™ Lexington CSI4*-W, the highlight of the show. The Maclay National Championship for the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class, presented by Chansonette Farm, will highlight equitation riders throughout the day Sunday.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Billy Dorito
Winner’s Circle – Darragh Kenny (IRL)
On Billy Dorito:
“It’s a 9-year-old horse that belongs to Teddy Vlock. He is a very nice horse that is still just getting to know this level and these shows, but I think he is going to be a very good horse. He did Washington [International Horse Show] last week and has been good here this week, so he is settling in quite well. Next year he will start to jump more grand prix classes. This year we are just trying to help him gain some experience and get to know these types of rings, and then next year he will step up to a higher level. ”
On the course:
“I had a plan to go as quick as I could and do the plan that I wanted to do and it paid off.”
On showing at the National Horse Show:
“It’s a lovely horse show with a super ring to ride in. It is also a very well done horse show and it’s nice to be here.”
On competing in costume:
“I think once you are in the ring, you don’t notice that you are wearing a costume. I try to always wear something that is not too crazy, but I don’t seem to notice when I am in the ring.”
Results – $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI 4*
1. Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Billy Dorito – 0 / 53.740
2. Daniel Coyle (IRL) & CHS Krooze – 0 / 53.800
3. Andrew Kocher (USA) & Fashion V – 0 / 54.070
4. Catherine Tyree (USA) & Catungee – 0 / 55.030
5. Savannah Jenkins (USA) & Quitana 11 – 0 / 56.060
6. Devin Ryan (USA) & Cooper – 0 / 57.700
7. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Venice Beach – 0 / 57.990
8. Quentin Judge (USA) & HH Quatuor – 0 / 58.490
9. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) & Akuna Mattata – 0 / 58.960
10. Conor Swail (IRL) & Gamble – 0 / 58.980
11. Natalie Dean (USA) & Don’s Diamant – 0 / 59.130
12. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) & Oasis Spirit – 0 / 59.890
For full results, please click here.
For more information, please visit nhs.org.
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for the National Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Media Group / Elaine Wessel / Leonore Phillips