Geneva, Switzerland – Dec. 13
Friday the 13th proved lucky for U.S. rider Kent Farrington as he topped a hugely talented 18-horse jump-off to claim victory in the $225,013 Credit Suisse Grand Prix at the International Geneva CSI.
Farrington rode Willow to a brilliantly calculated jump-off round almost a second faster than Brit Ben Maher on Cella. When an interviewer commented that he made it look easy, Farrington replied: “I don’t know about easy, this is tough competition here and all the riders are super riders. Maybe the jump-off today suited my horse better than [Ben’s]; I was able to leave out strides where maybe some of the other riders couldn’t and I think that played in my favor.”
Farrington has been riding Willow, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Guidam—Starina, Little Rock) that belongs to his student Megan Nusz, since September. They’ve won the $50,000 Hermes Classic at the American Gold Cup (N.Y.) and the $75,000 Hagyard Equine Institute Grand Prix (Ky.) in their time together.
Nusz had shown Willow at the 1.50-meter level, but gave Farrington the ride when the gray got a bit unruly for her taste.
The Credit Suisse Grand Prix was the qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the classes in the Rolex Grand Slam, on Dec. 15. “The horse is inexperienced at this bigger level, but he’s a fighter and I’m a competitive guy, so we’ll give it a run,” Farrington said.
The other Americans competing in the Credit Suisse Grand Prix—Reed Kessler on Cylana, Richard Spooner on Cristallo, Brianne Goutal on Nice de Prissey and Lucy Davis on Barron—all finished out of the money with 4 faults in the first round.