Find out who won the King's Cup at Royal Windsor today with a blisteringly quick round - all thanks to his pony racing roots (and a white-faced chestnut gelding who pings over 1.55m fences for fun...)
The feature class on the penultimate day of Royal Windsor Horse Show, the CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup, always produces an electric finish in a battle between some of the fastest riders on the circuit. But one combination has managed to find the winning formula twice in this prestigious class.
US rider Kent Farrington and Creedance, one of the fastest duos in the sport, first claimed victory in the Royal Windsor Horse Show King’s Cup on their show debut in 2016.
This year, the pair led from the front in an exhilarating six-way jump-off for the impressive silverware. The 40-year-old rider crediting his pony racing roots and his white-faced chestnut’s devastating “natural” speed for helping them open up over the 1.55m fences to seize an advantage of some two-and-a-half seconds over the rest of the high-calibre field.
“I started out doing pony races and I’m still doing it now – just on a slightly bigger pony with some bigger jumps. But it’s still just as fun!” said Kent.
He and the flashy Lord Z gelding are always mesmerising to watch, taking jump-offs to another level with his forward riding style, flair and pinpoint accuracy on his equine Ferrari. The odds-on favourites laid down a mighty challenge that simply couldn’t be beaten.
“He’s a really special horse – he’s 14 now and super experienced so I try to manage him well,” explained Kent, who also finished third in this class in 2017. “He’s won big five-star grands prix and he’s naturally fast so to win these big classes at speed is actually easy for him because that’s his natural pace.
“But these competitors are some of the best in the world, so it makes for great sport and I’m happy to win today. I just love this horse.
“This is one of my favourite shows – you couldn’t ask for a better setting,” concluded Kent after his victory in the Royal Windsor Horse Show King’s Cup on Saturday evening. “It’s fun to have a crowd again – it’s been a while since we had that. It’s been a great day.”
Slotting into second place was Irishman Daniel Coyle with an exciting new ride, the 13-year-old Oak Grove’s Carlyle, who came from the former world champion Jeroen Dubbeldam. The only other double clear was produced by another US rider, Laura Kraut and her great partner Confu for third.
The fastest of the four-faulters and best of the British riders in the Royal Windsor Horse Show King’s Cup was Harry Charles, who looked right on the mark until hitting the penultimate Land Rover oxer with the 11-year-old Chacco-Blue mare Stardust to take fourth. She has been jumping exceptionally already this week at this, her first five-star show, and looks a really exciting prospect for Harry’s string.
“I’m very excited for her,” he said. “She’s naturally blood, a small-striding horse, so a bit of zip suits her, so that’s the way I try to ride her. She’s a superstar.”
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Credit: Peter Nixon