Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 13
When you sit first and second with just a handful left to go in a big, hard class, it’s easy to get comfortable. But Kevin Babington knows better than that.
“It’s never over until Kent has gone,” he said.
Boy was he right.
In today's $34,000 Ruby Et Violette WEF 6 Challenge Cup, Kent Farrington and Blue Angel trounced Richard Jeffery’s speed course, leaving the jumps intact and shaving 1.4 seconds off Babington’s time with Shorapur to win the first major jumper class of week 6 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Babington’s second ride, Mark Q, finished third.
“I have a very fast horse, so for her it’s kind of just letting her do her round, and knowing if there is something incredible that she has to do,” said Farrington, Wellington, Fla. “I thought today the course really suited her, the small arena, her natural speed just kind of carried her around all by itself.”
It’s been almost exactly a year since Farrington and Blue Angel (Luidam—Astrid, Ascendant) scored their first big win together. They’ve been on a tear since then, with wins in five countries. They scored their latest win at The Stadium, as hunters have taken over the International Arena during World Champion Hunter Rider week. Farrington plans to bring Blue Angel back out for the $84,000 Salamander Resort and Spa Grand Prix tomorrow night, and she’ll show again in two weeks during Nations Cup week.
“She is an opinionated mare like most of the good mares are,” he said of the mare owned by Robin Parsky. “She has a little bit her own way of going and the way she wants to do things. I think now I know her well enough that we sort of have an agreement of terms. A little bit my way and a little bit her way, and it works out pretty well.”
Though he had to cede the top check, Babington was extremely proud of how well Shorapur performed. It’s her first major time stepping into a class of this level at WEF.
“She is naturally a faster horse than Mark Q,” said Babington, who rides for Ireland but is based in Blue Bell, Pa. “She is fast across the air, she is just learning to turn a little better. She’s a young horse, she did the 8-year-olds last year in Florida and did some small national grand prix during the summer on the Northeast. I have really high hopes for that horse.”
A year ago, Babington got Shorapur as a sales horse, and they immediately started dominating the 8-year-old division. When one his customer Kenny Bozorgi got wind that the Hanovarian (Stakkato Gold—Darina, Drosselklang II) could leave the barn, he and his wife Susan recruited their friends Diane and Mike Thomas to pitch in to keep her for Babington.
“I’m trying not to move her up the ranks too quickly,” he said. “She’s the kind of horse you could easily do that because she is so brave, but she is also extremely careful.”
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