Wellington, Florida, USA – January 29, 2021 – Kent Farrington (USA) and Austria 2, owned by Take The High Road, LLC, set the tone as the first pair to return for the jump-off and could not be caught, making light work of the shortened track to take home top honors in the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 on Friday, January 29, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) during the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
A total of 84 combinations contested the opening round of the class, looking to punch their ticket into Sunday’s $137,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI 3*. With 15 qualifying and nine pairs electing to return for the jump-off round, the rider currently ranked seventh in the world displayed flawless execution as he and Austria 2 stopped the timers in a blistering 38.29 seconds.
“I ride some very fast horses and Austria is one of the fastest, so if you’re going to go with her in the jump-off, she really only has one speed,” said Farrington of the talented 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Corrado I). “I thought she was great today, and she looks ready to go for the season, so it was a great way for her to start.”
The shortened track of eight obstacles set by Peter Grant (CAN) and Joey Rycroft (CAN), challenged riders with a combination of places to open up their stride and gallop along with opportunities to shave valuable time off the cthrough efficient turns, ultimately leading to some incredibly quick efforts.
“Those smaller horses, they gain confidence from working out of speed, especially when the jumps get bigger and wide,” he said. “They have to be comfortable jumping off a big gallop so it’s a good way to start her. There are tough competitors here as always and it’s never easy to win, so I’m happy to get the win today.”
Laura Kraut (USA) finished just off the mark with her veteran partner Confu, a 14-year-old Holsteiner owned by St. Bride’s Farm, finishing less than a second and a half off the mark in 39.79 seconds.
Also putting forth a double clear effort was U.S. rider Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) aboard Bennys Legacy, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Starlight Farms, LLC, crossing the finish line in 41.04 seconds.
While it’s still early in the season, Farrington has confidence he’s set up nicely for the duration of WEF, with a variety of horses to choose from as he continues to look for top results in the feature classes.
“I have a mixed group here at WEF,” he said. “I have some older, very experienced horses that I’m going to work in and out of the season trying to keep them going but not overuse them here, just like I normally do. I also have some younger ones, and I’ll move them up and down depending on what they’re ready for.”
There’s plenty of competition still to come in the International Arena this week at WEF, with the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic to highlight Saturday’s schedule and Sunday afternoon’s $137,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI3*. Don’t miss a minute of the action with all feature classes available for free on the livestream. Competition continues through April 4th as part of the winter circuit in Wellington, Florida.
Source: Press release Kate Pettersen / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot