Wellington, Florida, USA – January 28, 2021 –Coming off a win in the 1.40m jumpers on Wednesday at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Darragh Kenny (IRL) was back to his winning ways once again, this time aboard Sweet Tricia, owned by the SHL Farm, in the $6,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers on Thursday, January 28, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
With a starting field of 41 entries, Kenny and Sweet Tricia, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Berlin x Tampa), put forward the fastest effort of the day over the two-phase track designed by Peter Grant (CAN) and Joey Rycroft (CAN), keeping all the jumps up for the victory in 31.95 seconds. As Kenny alluded to after recording the win, sometimes the best way to handle the course is to go with the flow.
“It’s a very good mare that I ride, and I wanted to just school her around today,” he said. “She was jumping very fresh at the start, so it was good for her to go a little quick in the second phase. She felt great so I just kind of went with it, and I didn’t really have much of a plan to be honest. I was just going as fast as she felt comfortable.”
Representing Egypt, Abdel Said (EGY) and the 10-year-old Selle Français gelding, Oak Grove’s Laith, owned by AB Sporthorses, also put forth a double-clear effort, finishing just off the mark in 33.08 seconds.
It was a double podium finish for Ireland as Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) rounded out the top three aboard Sangris Boy, an 11-year-old gelding owned by Heathman Farm, LLC, stopping the timers in 34.27 seconds.
While Kenny and Sweet Tricia have only reunited recently, the beginning of their partnership dates back to 2018 when the pair jumped together for about six or seven months. In November, Kenny got the opportunity to campaign the talented mare once again, something he’s very excited about.
“She was always a super jumper and really, really light and careful so it will be fun to show her again this winter,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in her, I think she’s a really, really good jumper and I think I can do some good stuff with her here at WEF.”
Kenny has a busy schedule with a large string of horses to show and there are always a few to exercise off the show grounds each day. As expected, that amount of activity is physically demanding and can take its toll on a rider’s body, but the eighth-ranked rider in the world has established a good program to manage.
“Strangely enough, I’ve actually been going to the gym which I never used to do,” said Kenny with a laugh. “I think with the number of horses I’m riding every day and the older I’m getting, my back is getting sore more regularly, so I have to manage that a bit better by staying more fit and strong. I’ve been quite concentrated on that this winter, and it seems to be working well.”
The NetJets CSI3* week rolls on as show jumping continues in the International Arena at WEF and features the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 on Friday, the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic on Saturday, and the Sunday afternoon’s $137,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI3*. You can watch all feature classes online using the free livestream.
Source: Press release Kate Pettersen / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot