USA’s Kent Farrington prevented an Irish whitewash by claiming the grand prix at Dublin Horse Show today (Sunday 9 August) riding 14-year-old Uceko.
Eight clear rounds went forward to the jump-off after Alan Wade’s 1.60m track saw penalties strewn across the class. Kent scooped the €66,000 winner’s prize fund after a well-judged final round in a time of 43.14 seconds, fending off American-based Irishmen Kevin Babington (Shorapur) and Conor Swail (Grand Cru V. Vijf Eiken).
“It was a competitive class – there were a lot of fast riders. My horse has been a mainstay of my stable for a while. I got him as a seven-year-old,” said Kent. “He seems to get better with age and is a special horse to me.”
Conor Swail, who was unable to hide his disappointment at not being chosen for Friday’s (7 August) winning Irish Nations Cup team, added: “Competing in America I come up against Kent a lot. He is a winning machine, who doesn’t know how to lose. It’s always dangerous when he’s in your class.”
Last year’s victor, 20-year-old Bertram Allen produced a flawless first round clear and looked set to give Kent a run for his money. He was up on the clock until an ambitious turn to the third-last fence didn’t pay off and his 17-year-old ride Romanov had a glance off.
Following their clear rounds during Friday’s Nations Cup, British hopes were pinned on Scott Brash (Hello M’Lady) and Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV). However, grand prix glory was not to go their way after both riders had two poles down each. Ben Maher and Michael Whitaker also failed to make it through to the final round.
The most influential fence proved to be the upright planks at fence three, which was set on five strides after a substantial triple bar. It claimed 11 victims, including puissance winner, Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan, Irishman Dermott Lennon, and France’s Roger Yves Bost.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine’s full report on all the action from Dublin, on sale Thursday 13 August