Yesterday (Wednesday 9 March) saw the start of the third out of four internationally-rated five-star weeks at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with Ireland’s Darragh Kenny taking victory aboard Chic Chic in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI5*.
“It has been competitive here as it is every year,” said Darragh. “It is always difficult to win here but if you do, you know you are doing something right.”
The Irish dominated the day with Darragh setting the pace early on in a time of 32.69 seconds that proved nearly a second faster than the competition. Ireland’s Mark McAuley claimed second place with O’Hara ELS.
The course was designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade and it was no easy task. Of the 62 starters only 18 were clear. Mark gave it his best shot but stopped the clock in 33.36 seconds with LT Competition’s 10-year-old CH mare, who is by Ogano Sitte out of a mare by Liandero.
“I’ve had this horse for several years now, and I know he is naturally quite fast,” explained Kenny. “He had a bit of a break over the fall, and he is just building back up to this level. He felt like he was in good form today so I wanted to try and have a good go.”
Kenny has been partnered with the Vlock Show Stables LLC’s 11-year-old Westphalian stallion (by Comme Il Faut 5, out of a Contendro I mare) for more than two years, and they have previously been successful at the grand prix level.
“He is a very good horse, and he was competitive today,” added Kenny. “Some of the lines in today’s course were a bit short, which suited him well because he doesn’t have the biggest stride. If I don’t have to worry about getting down a line, it allows me to keep my forward pace better.”
Chic Chic will return to the International Arena on the final day of WEF 9 to compete in the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m CSI5*.
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