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Darragh Kerins & Intuitive Ride to Victory in the $50,000 Kentucky Spring Classic at Lexington

Lexington, Kentucky, USA – August 6, 2022 – A full slate of jumper competition brought the fans to their seats in the illustrious Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park Saturday. The action packed day was to be concluded with the feature event of the week with the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Classic Grand Prix, which was sure to be an exciting class. As the sun set on the bluegrass state, twenty of the top horse-and-rider combinations took to the ring to try their hand at the competitive track designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) and take home the blue ribbon.

Ultimately, Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Intuitive put together a double clear effort and couldn’t be caught in the jump-off after crossing the wire at a speedy time of 45.092. Putting together impressive performances of their own were Michael Desiderio (USA) and Le Muguet, and Francisco Goyoaga Mollet (ESP) and Carlson 135, coming up just short of the time to beat, falling into second and third place respectively.

The class was set to a 2(a) format where the pairs that bested the course in round one were invited to return to the jump off round. 6 of the 20 athletes earned their spot in the jump off aboard their respective mounts and put the pedal to the metal around the shortened track. Cabral, who has set the course in the Rolex Stadium all week, is known for setting a competitive track that uses the entirety of the expansive ring. For the first round, the 13-effort course challenged the competitors’ stamina and technique, including three double combinations, a triple bar oxer, and two rollback jumps. The jump-off track was cut to 7 obstacles and put the athletes on a race against the clock. 

Kerins had a great plan going into this class. He piloted Eve Jobs’ 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Beach Ball x Sandiamo) to an exceptional double clear effort. The pair took a more forward approach in the first round, posting the second fastest time amongst the field. But, Kerins took a more reserved approach in the jump off, which proved to be beneficial in the outcome. Several horse-and-rider combinations came running hard out of the gate, but took more risks and ultimately dropped rails to keep them from the top spot. The duo worked hand-in-hand to execute their plan to perfection, leaving all rails intact and propel themselves to the top of the leaderboard.

Michael Desiderio (USA) & Le Muguet

Michael Desiderio (USA) and Le Muguet were the only other pair in the class to post a double clear effort, and crossed the wire in the jump-off less than five tenths of a second behind Kerins and Intuitive. Desiderio and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, owned by Blue Rhode Inc., also took a more reserved jump-off approach after watching several of their competitors drop rails. Desiderio and Le Muguet are a new partnership, having only started working together in January of 2022, so they are using every opportunity as a chance to build on their relationship. 

Francisco Goyoaga Mollet (ESP) & Carlson 135

Francisco Goyoaga Mollet (ESP) and Carlson 135 rounded out the leaderboard after posting the fastest 4 fault jump off ride amongst the field of competitors. The pair definitely took a speedy approach, crossing the wire at a time of 42.722 seconds. Although the pair was nearly flawless, the faster approach presented more risks and caused them to drop one rail on the shortened track. Goyoaga Mollet doesn’t typically ride the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding, but the pair did make an appearance together at Kentucky Spring where they took second in the 1.35m Jumper.

This week, the Kentucky Horse Park will play host to all the pony riders with the USEF Pony Finals taking place from August 9-14, 2022. Following that, competition will return for the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show August 16-21, 2022.

Final Results – $50,000 Kentucky Summer Classic Grand Prix

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time

1) Darragh Kerins (IRL) & Intuitive / / Eve Jobs / 0 | 74.650 / 0 | 45.092 

2) Michael Desiderio (USA) & Le Muguet / Blue Rhode Inc. / 0 | 75.434 / 0 | 45.577

3) Francisco Goyoaga Mollet (ESP) & Carlson 135 / Ashland Farms / 0 | 75.170

4) Kelly Arani (USA) & Impossible Dream / / Marigot Bay Farm, LLC / 0 | 76.543 / 4 | 42.936 

5) TJ O’Mara (USA) & Kassiodam / Caroline Blake / 0 | 73.815 / 4 | 43.029 

6) Jill Gaffney (USA) & FF Blade Runner / / Freestyling Farms LLC / 0 | 78.239

7) Kara Jones (USA) & End Game / Kara Jones / 2 | 80.632

8) Darragh Kerins (IRL) & Valentino Tuiliere / Eve Jobs / 4 | 73.203

9) Alison Robitaille (USA) & Oakingham Lira / Alison Firestone LLC / 4 | 74.219

10) Mattias Ekeroth (SWE) & Haydee M / Mattias Ekeroth LLC / 4 | 77.992

11) Anna Beth Athey (USA) & Caraghs Quality Lady / Anna Beth Athey / 5 | 79.320

12) Shawn Casady (USA) & Sunny Boy 372 / Rabbit Root Stables, LLC / 8 | 75.835

Source: Press Release by Sydney Jones / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows

Photos: © Shawn McMillen Photography