IRISH riders completed week 11 of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida in winning form, with Galway’s Stephen Moore taking victory in the $50,000 Cabana Coast two-star Grand Prix, while Offaly’s Darragh Kenny came out on top in the $50,000 Captive One Advisors 1.50m Grand Prix at the same venue.
45 combinations contested the Cabana Coast two-star Grand Prix, with seven of those making it through to the second round. Moore was last to go in the jump-off aboard Vlock Show Stables’ ‘Team De Coquerie’ and they produced the winning clear in 40.81 seconds.
“We’ve been building up for a few weeks for this class,” explained Moore. “This is his second two-star Grand Prix of the season; we started slowly. He jumped good in the qualifier and had one down that kept us out of the jump-off. In the first round today, we got lucky in a few spots and had a few rubs, but he’s always so fast. In the jump-off we were last to go, and I knew the ones that were ahead of me were quite quick, but he’s so fast and turns well, so I just had to let him do his thing and hope that his foot speed would be fast enough.”
The 2007 Selle Français gelding by ‘Heartbreaker’ x ‘Girl De Coquerie’ has been a part of the Vlock Show Stables’ programme for about four years, and Moore has had the ride on and off throughout that period of time.
“I rode him when we first got him, and then Darragh [Kenny], who is also a part of our programme, rode him for a while,” said Moore. “I’ve been with him for the last year now. He won a Grand Prix at Deeridge last winter and then had a great summer, so it’s good to leave Wellington with another win under his belt.”
Irish Young Rider Max Wachman continued his fine form when finishing sixth with ‘Ikaros’, while Simon McCarthy took seventh spot with ‘Gotcha’.
There was another win for Ireland at the same venue on Sunday evening, when Offaly’s Darragh Kenny and ‘Vertige De Galarzacs’, owned by Morning Star Sporthorses LLC, claimed the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Grand Prix.
A total of 43 combinations contested the opening round, with just six pairs qualifying for the jump-off. Kenny, the current overall leader of the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic Series, proved once again why he’s at the top, picking up the win aboard the 12-year-old gelding when he crossed the line in 36.01.
“I didn’t jump him in any classes this week,” said Kenny of the winning gelding ‘Vince’.
“I just went straight into the Grand Prix, so he was a little bit more fresh. He jumped excellent and felt fantastic. He’s just a really, really nice horse.
“He was jumping really well, so I didn’t have to worry about that so much,” continued Kenny.
“He felt really good, I just wasn’t sure if the inside turn after the third last jump was going to be faster or not. It turned out to be faster, so that was good.”
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