American Kent Farrington brought Creedance to Royal Windsor Horse Show to give the nine-year-old some experience – and walked away with both the weekend’s big classes.
Having won Saturday’s (14 May) Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup, the pair also took today’s Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy.
Kent jumped the fastest of only four double clears, in 38.45 seconds, beating John Whitaker and Argento into second place.
“Maybe I could have dreamed about it, or hoped for it, but I certainly didn’t expect it,” he told H&H.
“I thought I’d bring him here and it would be good experience for him, to step up and jump some bigger classes, and he far exceeded my expectations.”
With five riders including John Whitaker and Laura Renwick to follow him in the jump-off, Kent had to pull all the stops out for his win.
“You never think you’ve done enough when you’ve got the likes of John coming after you,” he said. “I was holding my breath till the end of the class.
“I think he’s pretty special,” Kent added.
John, who clocked up a time of 39.52, said Argento had not been his normal self in the class.
“I don’t know why but he was a bit spooky,” he said.
“The first day, he was like normal, he did his job, so I don’t know what happened. We were quite quick round the first part of the course but then at the oxer, number eight, we were slow there because he was spooky, he didn’t want to go.
“He jumped great but that’s where I lost time, and you had to be 100% perfect to beat Kent, he was tight and quick, over the fences and in between.”
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Argento will not be aimed at Rio, as John wants to keep the 14-year-old stallion “in classes he’s comfortable with”.
“I don’t want to push him,” he added. “I’ll keep him confident and doing what he’s doing.”
Italian Piergiorgio Bucci took third on Casallo Z and Canadian Tiffany Foster came fourth, on Ben Maher’s former ride and London 2012 Olympic team gold medal-winner Tripple X III.
Buy next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (19 May) for full coverage of Royal Windsor Horse Show