Bridgehampton, New York, USA – September 02, 2023 – After claiming several podium finishes during the week at the Hampton Classic, it was Darragh Kenny’s (IRL) turn to top the leaderboard in Saturday’s $78,000 The Agency Speed Stake CSI 5*. Kenny bested a field of 40 entries representing 14 nations with Kerry Anne’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Eddy Blue, stopping the clock in a faultless, blistering time of 69.27 seconds.
The Hampton Classic, August 27-September 3, is one of the world’s most prestigious horse shows, featuring competitors at every level from young children in leadline to Olympic, World, and World Cup Champions. The Classic also has competitions for riders with disabilities.
Of the nine horse-and-rider combinations to go clear over Alan Wade’s 16-effort, 1.50m course for the $78,000 The Agency Speed Stake CSI 5*, only two stayed under the 70-second barrier: Kenny and World #5 ranked show jumper McLain Ward (USA). Just 0.41 seconds separated these two speed masters, with Ward tripping the timers in 69.68 seconds for a second-place finish aboard Cedric 84, Sport Four USA’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding.
“I think I could have been a little quicker at the end of the course because I know the horse is very, very careful,” Kenny said. “You always have to worry about McLain’s rides, especially toward the end of a class. He’s one of the fastest and most competitive riders out there. With him coming up behind me, I likely could have made it more of a race to the finish as Eddy Blue is just learning to be a quick horse, but I’m very happy with his round and grateful to clinch the win.
“Alan (Wade) is one of the best course designers in the world,” he added. “He’s fantastic and super smart with his tracks. He knows that if he builds a short line at the end of the course, it’s going to be more difficult for us with our horses going fast, and that’s exactly what he did today. The lines were tough for a lot of people, but they worked out for me.”
Third place went to Kenny’s countryman Conor Swail (IRL) for his time of 71.16 seconds on Vital Chance de La Roque, a 14-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Mannon Farm.
With his 5* victory, Kenny has overtaken the lead for the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge with 227 points. Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) have dropped into second and third place, respectively, on their overnight scores of 215 points and 206 points. The Challenge, which awards $30,000 and a Longines watch to the rider accumulating the most points in the week’s Open Jumper classes, will be awarded on Sunday following the $425,000 Longines Hampton Classic 5* Grand Prix (2:00 p.m. start).
Final Results – $78,000 The Agency Speed Stake CSI 5*
1) Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Eddy Blue – 0 – 69.27
2) McLain Ward (USA) & Cedric 84 – 0 – 69.68
3) Conor Swail (IRL) & Vital Chance de La Roque – 0 – 71.16
Source: Press Release by Marty Bauman / Classic Communications for The Hampton Classic Horse Show
Photos: © KindMedia