21 May 2018
New Potential: Darragh Kenny & Balou Du Reventon
Darragh Kenny is very arguably the most talented rider in the sport at forging winning connections with brand new horses. He’s done it with Imothep, with Prof De La Roque, with Red Star D’Argent and Sans Souci Z. And now, he’s done it with his newest partner, Balou Du Reventon (Cornet Obolensky). After competing together for just two weeks, they picked up the biggest prize of the Kentucky Spring CSI3* at the Kentucky Horse Park. But the Irish rider is modest when this fact is pointed out; ‘’It is just because I’ve ridden so many different horses in my life, and I’ve had to figure them out quite quickly,” he says. “I think that’s the main reason.” Kenny’s jumpoff in this past Saturday’s $131 Mary Rena Grand Prix CSI3* in Lexington, Kentucky, USA shows a winning pair at the very beginning of their partnership. See the jumpoff here. Balou Du Reventon was formerly seen with Jorge Matte of Chile and Russia’s Ljubov Kochetova. With the stallion clearing every fence by miles (he once won a CSI4* Grand Prix with Kochetova as the only clear round with a time fault), he spends extra time in the air that Kenny hopes to hone when he heads to Europe with his top horses this week. “He’s not a very difficult horse at all – he’s a super horse, very careful, very easy to ride, very naturally talented so it’s easy,” Kenny says. “That’s the last few I’ve done this on, they have all been really superstar horses so it’s worked out well.” Kenny had his eye on Balou Du Reventon for several years, and feels lucky that he now has the stallion to take to the top levels, thanks to owners Kenny and Ann Thompson. “I’ve known the horse probably for three or four years now. I always thought he was an incredible horse,” Kenny says. “I just have to work and get him more confident jumping across the oxers. Sometimes he gets a little too over careful and gets too high. He just needs to relax a bit and jump a little more across. I think for sure that will come in another few months time. Kenny is well set up to make a serious bid for Team Ireland’s Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games squad. The team will be chosen later this summer. Kenny competed in his first senior team championships at 2014 Caen, where he finished in the top 12. Now, with four more years of experience under his belt, the World No. 58 is hoping to make a return trip to WEG if all goes well this summer. Not only does he have Balou Du Reventon, he also has quickly made a winning team with Babalou 51 (Balou Du Rouet), the mare that took Australia’s Matt Williams to the 2016 Olympic Games, and that was also successful with Todd Minikus. Kenny won the previous week’s CSI3* Kentucky grand prix with the mare. Kenny’s mount Go Easy De Muze (Vigo D’Arsouilles) is stepping back up to competition after spending time on the sidelines, and he also has Cassini Z, with whom he will save for the LGCT and GCL events that he focuses on. “It couldn’t have gone better for the two weeks,” says Kenny of his spring tour in Kentucky. “It’s the first time I’ve actually ever shown in Kentucky at the outdoor shows before. It worked out to be very successful; myself and Hardin Towell have started a business together, so we wanted to come here and show a little bit. He’s going to base in Kentucky and I’m going to go to Europe, and we’re going to do both locations together.” Kenny has his own farm in Holland, near Peelbergen, and a big business that Kenny has been running successfully on two continents for several years now. “I’m very lucky with the team of people I have, that I can just fly here and get on the horses and go. The most important thing is to have a great team of people around you, and I’m very lucky at the moment that we have a super team of staff, flat riders and trainers and everything. It’s working out great.” Photo ©Barre Dukes/Phelps Sports
20 May 2018
News From America
An unseasonably rainy week across the East Coast of the USA may have spoiled the picture perfect atmosphere of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show’s beautiful grass field, which was unusable due to weather this week, but competition proceeded on the venue’s sand arenas, where Switzerland’s Beat Mandli won the $131,000 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday afternoon with Simba (Toulon). Thirty-three pairs entered the grand prix, and with just five in the jumpoff, Mandli had to head off McLain Ward aboard Clinta (Clinton), the talented mare with whom he won the Longines Masters Grand Prix of New York a few weeks ago. Both riders are based nearby to North Salem, New York where the show is held. Mandli was fastest by a hair to take the win; also going double clear was Brianne Goutal-Marteau, who placed 3rd with Viva Colombia (Couleur-Rubin). Darragh Kenny is heading to Europe this week on a high after two very successful weeks in Lexington, Kentucky at the Kentucky Spring Series. The Irish rider won the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* with Balou Du Reventon (Cornet Obolensky). He also placed 2nd with the 12 year old Oldenburg stallion in Thursday’s qualifier. Kenny just started competing the horse that was previously ridden by Colombia’s Jorge Matte and also Ljubov Kochetova of Russia. American lady rider Margie Engle and Royce (Café Au Lait) placed 2nd in the Grand Prix, and Rowan Willis of Australia was 3rd with Blue Movie (Chacco Blue) Also in Kentucky, another Irish rider, Kevin Babington, won the Sunday grand prix for the second week in the row. Babington rode his veteran partner Mark Q to victory in the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, coming out just ahead of Todd Minikus and Amex Z. And Abigail McArdle won the U25 Grand Prix with Fanta Light B. At the future site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, the spring circuit continued with Jimmy Torano winning’s the week’s feature class, the $25,000 Spring 3 Grand Prix. He rode Glasgow De Muze (Andiamo) to a double clear over Sarah Bagworth and Malou. Torano was also 3rd with Day Dream. Celso Arani finished in 4th with Ukulman De La Nutria (Quick Star.) Riders are back at the Colorado Horse Park outside of Denver, Colorado, and Katharin Gualtieri took top honors with the 16-year-old Castalano (Capone) in the $25,000 Spring in the Rockies Grand Prix II on Saturday evening. Paul Rohrbach and Camerino were 2nd, and Nicki Wilcox was 3rd with JES Quito in the three-horse jumpoff. Out on the West Coast, California-based, British rider Patrick Seaton won the $25,000 CWD Grand Prix with Skipio K (Taloubet K) at the Sonoma Horse Park. Fellow professional Carol Wright was 2nd with Conejito (Conejo HF), and Ashley Bewick was 3rd with Lintina. Carol’s daughter, Leslie Wright, placed 4th with Karo. And competition began on both sides of Canada, with the Caledon Equestrian Park beginning its season over the weekend. Ireland's Daniel Coyle won the $35,500 CSI2* Grand Prix with Farona (Baltic VDL). Coyle also won Thursday's CSI2* Qualifier with Lothlorian Farm's homebred Canadian Sport Horse mare Tienna (For Pleasure). Finally, the organizers of Thunderbird Show Park held a national exhibition grand prix in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Sunday afternoon. The event drew many spectators and billed as a success, with Kyle King taking victory in the grand prix. TBird will host its annual CSIO5* week this coming week. Photo of Beat Mandli ©The Book for Jump Media
20 May 2018
News From America
An unseasonably rainy week across the East Coast of the USA may have spoiled the picture perfect atmosphere of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show’s beautiful grass field, which was unusable due to weather this week, but competition proceeded on the venue’s sand arenas, where Switzerland’s Beat Mandli won the $131,000 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday afternoon with Simba (Toulon). Thirty-three pairs entered the grand prix, and with just five in the jumpoff, Mandli had to head off McLain Ward aboard Clinta (Clinton), the talented mare with whom he won the Longines Masters Grand Prix of New York a few weeks ago. Both riders are based nearby to North Salem, New York where the show is held. Mandli was fastest by a hair to take the win; also going double clear was Brianne Goutal-Marteau, who placed 3rd with Viva Colombia (Couleur-Rubin). Darragh Kenny is heading to Europe this week on a high after two very successful weeks in Lexington, Kentucky at the Kentucky Spring Series. The Irish rider won the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* with Balou Du Reventon (Cornet Obolensky). He also placed 2nd with the 12 year old Oldenburg stallion in Thursday’s qualifier. Kenny just started competing the horse that was previously ridden by Colombia’s Jorge Matte and also Ljubov Kochetova of Russia. American lady rider Margie Engle and Royce (Café Au Lait) placed 2nd in the Grand Prix, and Rowan Willis of Australia was 3rd with Blue Movie (Chacco Blue) Also in Kentucky, another Irish rider, Kevin Babington, won the Sunday grand prix for the second week in the row. Babington rode his veteran partner Mark Q to victory in the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, coming out just ahead of Todd Minikus and Amex Z. And Abigail McArdle won the U25 Grand Prix with Fanta Light B. At the future site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, the spring circuit continued with Jimmy Torano winning’s the week’s feature class, the $25,000 Spring 3 Grand Prix. He rode Glasgow De Muze (Andiamo) to a double clear over Sarah Bagworth and Malou. Torano was also 3rd with Day Dream. Celso Arani finished in 4th with Ukulman De La Nutria (Quick Star.) Riders are back at the Colorado Horse Park outside of Denver, Colorado, and Katharin Gualtieri took top honors with the 16-year-old Castalano (Capone) in the $25,000 Spring in the Rockies Grand Prix II on Saturday evening. Paul Rohrbach and Camerino were 2nd, and Nicki Wilcox was 3rd with JES Quito in the three-horse jumpoff. Out on the West Coast, California-based, British rider Patrick Seaton won the $25,000 CWD Grand Prix with Skipio K (Taloubet K) at the Sonoma Horse Park. Fellow professional Carol Wright was 2nd with Conejito (Conejo HF), and Ashley Bewick was 3rd with Lintina. Carol’s daughter, Leslie Wright, placed 4th with Karo. And competition began on both sides of Canada, with the Caledon Equestrian Park beginning its season over the weekend. Ireland's Daniel Coyle won the $35,500 CSI2* Grand Prix with Farona (Baltic VDL). Coyle also won Thursday's CSI2* Qualifier with Lothlorian Farm's homebred Canadian Sport Horse mare Tienna (For Pleasure). Finally, the organizers of Thunderbird Show Park held a national exhibition grand prix in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Sunday afternoon. The event drew many spectators and billed as a success, with Kyle King taking victory in the grand prix. TBird will host its annual CSIO5* week this coming week. Photo of Beat Mandli ©The Book for Jump Media