Kent Farrington Wins $30,000 WEF Challenge
WELLINGTON, FL Jan. 24 -
Kent Farrington emerged the winner over a tough field of competition on Thursday in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series I at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Course designer Richard Jeffrey of Great Britain set a track that required speed and accuracy, most notably through the triple combination set at fence 10. When all 76 starters had taken their turn, only five had managed to jump clearly and advance to the tie-breaker. New York City's Georgina Bloomberg also turned in a clear round riding her long-time partner Nadia, but one time fault for exceeding the 92-second time allowed kept them out of the jump-off.
First to return, Marie Hecart of France incurred eight faults with Why Not in a time of 46.54 seconds to eventually place fifth. Sydney Olympian Lauren Hough and Quick Study made quick work of the shortened course, turning in a time of 43.24 seconds but having one rail down along the way for four faults. The result would eventually place them third. Ali Wolff and H&M Necoll also incurred four faults, but their slower time of 44.19 seconds would leave them fourth.
European-based U.S. Equestrian Team member Peter Wylde and Let's Fly provided the crowd with the first double clear performance of the afternoon, stopping the clock at 44.41 seconds. It was all up to Kent Farrington, who won more grand prix events in 2007 than any other American rider. With the grey mare Nerina, Farrington shaved almost four seconds off the time posted by Wylde, stopping the clock at 40.68 seconds and claiming $9,000 in prize money for his first victory of the 2008 Winter Equestrian Festival.
"I try to go class by class, day by day, and not try to put too much pressure on chasing a record," noted Farrington of his winning streak. "Nerina likes to win, she's scopey, she's fast, and she's brave. She's a great horse."
While Wylde didn't claim the victory, he was pleased with the performance of Let's Fly, who is by the same mother as Meredith Michael-Beerbaum's famous mount, Shutterfly.
"I was conservative in the jump-off. I wanted to pick my places to go fast, but I knew if I went clear I would either be first or second," said Wylde who is based in Maastricht, the Netherlands. "I love the horse. He's still a little inexperienced for this, but he's careful and has all the quality. It's a special horse."
The $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series I was Thursday's featured event of the CSI2* rated competition, the second of 12 weeks of equestrian sport comprising the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising.
Results of Class 100 - $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup I
1 - 1190 NERINA
KENT FARRINGTON USA 0.00 84.102 0.00 40.686 $9000
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