Darragh Kenny claims win for Ireland in Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSIO4*

Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Carthano cruised to victory in the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 CSIO4* on Thursday, February 27, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

WEF continues at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) through March 29, 2020, with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition and $13 million dollars on offer. The eighth week of competition, sponsored by Premier Equestrian, runs through March 1 and is recognized as a CSIO4* Nations Cup by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). Highlights still to come for the week are the $37,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Semi-Final on Friday, the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* during “Saturday Night Lights”, and the $214,000 Premier Equestrian CSIO4* Grand Prix to close out the week on Sunday.

Thursday’s featured Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup was run as a one-round speed class, with 60 entries contesting the course set by the USA’s Ken Krome.

When Kenny entered the ring as one of the final five riders to compete, the time to beat had been set at 64.39 seconds by the USA’s Andrew Ramsay and Stranger 30. The pair had held the lead for three-quarters of the class, but Kenny and his new partner, Carthano, overtook them with a time of 63.67 seconds, ultimately securing Kenny the victory. Ramsay and Stranger 30, owned by the Stranger Group, finished in second, while third place with a time of 64.62 seconds went to the USA’s Lucas Porter and Diamonte Darco, owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC.

“I think I was running very fast – faster than I expected actually!” said Kenny of what helped him secure the win. “I don’t really know [Carthano] that well yet, and he has a much bigger stride than I thought.”

Kenny just purchased the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cartani x Heraldik XX), owned by Oakland Ventures LLC, at the end of December 2019 and is enjoying getting to know him throughout the WEF circuit.

“I had actually tried the horse when he was seven, and I always liked him,” said Kenny. “I saw him go really well the last few shows in December, and he jumped super, so I thought it would be a good horse to add to my string. I took him here [to WEF] straight away, and we started playing around at the start. I think he’s going to be a super horse.

“He tries really hard,” continued Kenny, who will also compete Carthano in Sunday’s $214,000 Premier Equestrian Grand Prix CSIO4*. “He’s really brave and careful. He’s super simple to ride. I just have to get to know him better.”

Finishing fourth in Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup was Great Britain’s Ben Maher, who stopped the clock in 66.23 seconds riding Ginger-Blue for owner Jane Forbes Clark. Fifth place with a time of 66.37 seconds went to Canada’s Sam Walker and Kel’Star du Vingt Ponts, owned by Castlefield Sport Horses.

Also winning in the International Arena at WEF on Thursday, Natalie Dean (USA) topped the $10,000 Hermès Under 25 Welcome riding Don’s Diamant, owned by Marigold Sporthorses, LLC. Dean was also awarded the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award from Laura Fetterman of Champion Equine insurance.