Akita Drilling Cup 2015
Kent Farrington and Uceko Win $85,000 Akita Drilling Cup CSI5* at Spruce Meadows Masters
Kent Farrington returned to Calgary, Canada on Wednesday, September 9th in the way he knows best – by winning with his veteran partner Uceko, owned by RCG Farm.
After his last outing at The Royal Dublin Horse Show in Dublin, Ireland, Uceko enjoyed four weeks of restful time off at Farrington’s summer base near Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Farrington, who has been partnered with the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Celano x Koriander) since 2009, plans Uceko’s schedule carefully based on venues around the world that the scopey, long-strided gelding likes.
The plan is working; on August 9th Farrington and Uceko won the Longines International Grand Prix CSIO5* at Dublin, and exactly four weeks later they displayed that same great form to win the $85,000 Akita Drilling Cup on the opening day of the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary.
Course designer Leopoldo Palacios designed a track that saw 17 of the 37-entry start list move on to the second round jump-off.
In the jump-off, Richard Spooner (USA) and Cristallo set the early pace in 39.81 seconds to eventually finish fourth. Kevin Staut (FRA) upped the pace with his round in 39.75 seconds to take home third place honors aboard Elky van het Indihof HDC. Farrington and Uceko soon stole the lead in an impressive 38.62 seconds to hold on for the win. Last to go, Roger Yves Bost (FRA) jumped into second place with a time of 38.99 seconds aboard Quod’Coeur de la Loge.
Following his win, Farrington spoke of the exciting atmosphere and fantastic conditions starting off this year’s edition of the Masters.
“The level of competition here is always very high, particularly at the Masters,” Farrington stated. “These are the best riders in the world using their best horses, so there is no easy victory here. The conditions are fantastic. The field looks great and it is jumping great--that is nothing new here at Spruce Meadows. I think this is one of the best jumping fields in the world and today was as good as ever. My horse loves it here too, so that works out well for me. I always try to make a good schedule for him where he gets to compete a lot at Spruce Meadows.”
Uceko’s huge stride ate up the ground between fences in the jump-off, and Farrington’s decision to take several turns on a very tight angle made up the difference between his time and Yves Bost’s.
Uceko displayed that same speed on Thursday in the $126,000 CANA Cup, jumping clear once again in Round 2 to move on to the jump-off. An unlucky tap on fence seven, a solid wall, caused four faults for the pair, who finished in the top ten. Farrington plans to compete Uceko once more this week, in the $210, 000 Tourmaline Oil Cup 1.60m.
The highlight of the Spruce Meadows Masters is Sunday afternoon’s $1.2 Million Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*, the third leg of the Rolex Grand Slam. Farrington, who is pre-qualified for the Grand Prix based on his victory at CSIO Dublin in August, will ride Voyeur in the top international class that is known as a “Major” of show jumping.
“Every rider in the world would love to win that competition,” Farrington said of the Rolex Grand Prix. “The Masters in Calgary is very special. It is the biggest prize money that we jump for all year and the courses are always massive, so I think that is something that we would all like to have on our resume.”