Spruce Meadows National 2016
DÈJÁ VU! KENT FARRINGTON GOES TWO FOR TWO AT SPRUCE MEADOWS
For the second night in a row, USA’s Kent Farrington, ranked No. 6 in the world, won the day’s highlight competition with Gazelle at CSI5* Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament on Thursday, June 10th.
Adding to an opening day win on Wednesday, Farrington took home victory in the ATB Financial Cup 1.55m, when he topped Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt on Chico 784 and Canada’s Eric Lamaze on Check Picobello Z.
From the 43 entries in the ATB Financial Cup, 15 pairs made it through to the jump off. There were nine, double-clear rounds. As the final pair in the order, Farrington and Gazelle chased a leading time of 42.56 seconds, set by Weishaupt. Farrington sliced turns and opened up Gazelle’s stride to stop the timers at 41.46 seconds.
Farrington has partnered with Gazelle, a ten-year-old, Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro), for three years, and co-owns her with Robin Parsky. Farrington rode Gazelle for Team USA at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where they won team bronze. Farrington noted that she is learning to be a good grand prix horse, and the plan for her time at Spruce Meadows is to gain mileage in bigger competitions.
This is the fourth time that Farrington will have his name etched on the trophy for the ATB Financial Cup and has become one of the top names in show jumping.
“I’ve been in the sport for a long time,” he confirmed. “I started at the bottom of the sport, similar to Eric [Lamaze], with no family background. I think it’s a dream to ride [at Spruce Meadows] in the first place, and then to win here is even better.
“I have a lot of appreciation for all of the people that do this at a high level. I’ve learned from them. I used to watch Eric and Cagney jumping the derby year after year. I’m a student of the sport. To go in there and compete with them, and to win, is a dream since I was a kid.”
Farrington was inspired by Lamaze and the way that the Canadian veteran rider rose through the sport to continually win in North America and Europe.
“Eric is a tremendous competitor,” Farrington added. “He took what he was doing in North America and challenged himself again and went to Europe and went full swing at it. He didn’t go halfway.
“I watched him take Hickstead and go against the best horses in the world and beat them. He really went with no fear, and that was inspiring for me to see—somebody that I knew came from no background in the sport, climbed his way up, and then go over holding nothing back. It was something for me to watch and think if he can do it, then I can try to do it too.”
Lamaze was appreciative of the description and replied that Farrington is also one to watch for the way he runs his business.
“These are very kind words,” Lamaze said. “He has one of the most successful operations in the United States and is one of the best riders in the world. Not only do you see him winning this class tonight and it’s incredible, but you see what he does with his students, and what he does with his whole operation, what he gives back to the sport. That’s what is very impressive to me.
“We see more than just the winning round. We see what goes on in the morning, what goes on every day, the operation that they’re running. Kent is one of the best today in our business. Ian Millar always says every day in this sport that you’re learning. No one can wake up in the morning and think that they know everything. You learn everything from horses; every day is a learning experience.”
The Spruce Meadows Summer Series kicked off competition on Wednesday, June 8, with Farrington winning the opening, highlight competition, the Bantrel Cup 1.55m CSI5*, also with Gazelle.
Five of 29 starters in the Bantrel Cup 1.55m found the clear track to the jump-off, with pathfinder Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 taking the shortened course first. Their blazing time of 39.95 seconds would have been good for the win, but a rail down left them in fourth place.
Next in were Farrington who rode Gazelle to the top of the leaderboard with a clear round in 42.18 seconds.
“I know Eric well, and I know that horse very well,” Farrington said. “I knew that was going to be the speed of the class, so I wanted to be sure to watch him go so I knew what I had to do. When he had a rail down, I thought I would go more measured than I had planned but put enough pressure where the others had to go. He was really going all out there, and it would have been hard to beat if he hadn’t had that rail.”
Source: Spruce Meadows via NoelleFloyd.com