Farrington Wins $150,000 CN US Open Jumping Championship
WELLINGTON, FL, March 9 -
Kent Farrington of Chicago, Ill., won the $150,000 CN US Open Jumping Championship, presented by Cosequin, during the CSIO5* CN Wellington Open, week eight of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The competition, which also acted as the fifth and final United States Show Jumping Team Selection Trial for the 2008 Olympic Games, presented by Equine Motor Coach and Hong Kong Tourism, saw Laura Kraut of Wellington, Fla., emerge the winner.
A total of 34 competitors lined up for Sunday’s Grand Prix event with seven posting scores over the big and technical track set by course designer Jose Gamarra of Bolivia. First back for the jump-off, Ireland’s Edward Doyle guided Sequoyah Farm’s Utopia home clear in a time of 46.92 seconds to take the early lead. Mexico’s Eduardo Salas then had four faults with RMW Estina before Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Hickstead, who had jumped double clear for the second-placed Canadian Team in Friday night’s $75,000 FEI Nations’ Cup, presented by CN, raced around the course, easily clearing all the obstacles and stopping the clock at 41.62 seconds.
Lamaze’s lead would be short-lived however as the next combination into the International Arena were Farrington and Up Chiqui, who had helped their country win the Nations’ Cup. The pair did the seemingly impossible, shaving almost three seconds off Lamaze’s time by crossing the timers in 38.81 seconds.
All who followed - France’s Marie Hecart and Why Not, Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil and Chaplin 40, and Nicole Simpson of Wellington, Fla., riding SRF Dragonfly, had rails to hand the victory, and first place prize money of $50,000, to Farrington.
“I watched Eric go, I was in the gate, and he’s fast and Hickstead is very fast, but I think my horse is also naturally very fast,” said Farrington, 27, of the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by William Dobbs, Alex Boone, and Jim McNerney. “I’ve gone light with him, I’ve hardly shown him at all this circuit. With so many weeks, I think it is easy to burn your horse out. I wanted to wait until the big money classes.”
As for his decision not to enter the Olympic Selection Trials with Up Chiqui, Farrington explained, “Obviously the Olympics are a very special thing, and I hope one day to have the opportunity to do that, but I didn’t think that was the right decision for that horse.”
For Kraut, winning the Selection Trials with Cedric was an incredible achievement.
“He’s an amazing animal,” said the 2000 Olympian of the 10-year-old grey gelding owned by Happy Hill Farm. “Like I’ve said before, he really gets this sport and understands that he’s not supposed to have rails down. The one rail that he had over the five selection trials was, for sure, my fault. He’s grown up a lot through this process.”
Following a meeting by the Selection Committee on Monday, the United States Equestrian Federation will announce the 10 horse-rider combinations that will participate in a pre-Olympic European tour. Beezie Madden’s Authentic and McLain Ward’s Sapphire were given byes before the Selection Trials began while Jeffery Welles and Armani were granted a bye following the second Selection Trial. One more bye may be awarded at the discretion of the selection committee while the top six riders in the standings are automatically named to the pre-Olympic tour. The standings finished with Laura Kraut and Cedric with seven faults; Nicole Simpson and SRF Dragonfly with 12 faults; Anne Kursinski and Champ 163 with 23 faults; and Charlie Jayne and Urbanus with 24 faults. There was a three-way tie for fifth place between Kate Levy and Vent du Nord, Anne Kursinski and Roxana 112 and Christine McCrea and Vegas, all of whom finished the Selection Trials with 25 faults. Selection criteria will be reviewed before the tie is broken.
Noticeably absent from Sunday’s final Selection Trial was Will Simpson, 48, of Thousand Oaks, Cali., and Carlsson vom Dach who were sitting in third position in the Selection Trial standings coming into the final event. Simpson explained that the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by El Campeon Farms was found traumatized in his stall on Saturday morning, most probably due to stress caused by a severe overnight thunderstorm. The horse was found at 6 a.m. with damage to his neck, withers and had probably been knocked unconscious said Simpson.
“He is sound, but he is exhausted and has no energy. He could not jump a championship course today,” explained Simpson of his decision not to start in Sunday’s competition. “There was no way we could go in there and risk damage to the horse.”
Following the fifth and final Selection Trial, a veterinary inspection was held for the Selection Trial horses and Carlsson vom Dach was presented and passed. Simpson’s fate now rests in the hands of the selection committee.
The ninth week of competition gets underway with the CSI4*-W CN WorldWide running from March 12 to 16. Featured events include Thursday’s $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII as well as Sunday’s $200,000 CN WorldWide Grand Prix which sees $60,000 awarded to the winner.
Results of $150,000 CN US Open presented by Cosequin
1 - 1191 UP
CHIQUI KENT FARRINGTON USA 0.00 85.42 0.00 38.81 BOONE, DOBBS, MCNERNEY
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com