Friday, May. 24, 2024

Kent Farrington Rebounds For KL Grand Prix Win

His first FEI Show Jumping World Cup experience might have been a disappointment, with things not going his way, but Kent Farrington rebounded quickly, and finished his time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a win in the $49,700 KL Grand Prix tonight, Apr. 29.

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His first FEI Show Jumping World Cup experience might have been a disappointment, with things not going his way, but Kent Farrington rebounded quickly, and finished his time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a win in the $49,700 KL Grand Prix tonight, Apr. 29.

Farrington and Madison laid down the gauntlet in the grand prix, going first of the six.  His forward and fluid clear round in 39.51 seconds set the standard, and no one could match it.  “I knew the horses to go behind me were very fast—I’d seen them do the speed classes earlier in the week.  My goal was to lay down a fast trip,” Farrington said.  “She’s naturally a very fast horse, so I took some shots early in the course and let her pace happen.”

His strategy worked, as the remaining five either had rails or were slightly slower, and Madison got to gallop around first in the victory lap to end her time in Kuala Lumpur.  It was a sweeter finish than Farrington might have expected.  Madison didn’t perform like her usual game, fighting self during the first round of the World Cup Final on Thursday night, and pulled three rails at the end of the course.

The stress of the long trip and the heat and humidity got to Madison, and “she just wasn’t feeling like herself on the first day [of the World Cup Final],” Farrington said.  He withdrew from the World Cup Final, and gave her Friday to rest, just flatting her lightly.  “She felt a lot closer to her normal self today,” he said. 

“Of course, I came here hoping to do well in the World Cup Final, but that wasn’t in the cards.  But it’s nice to leave on a high note.”

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Though this was Farrington’s first major international competition, he wasn’t intimidated by the magnitude of the competition.  “I’ve come to watch the World Cup Finals a few times, so I sort of knew my way around.  I knew how the scoring goes, and what to expect,” he said.  “I wasn’t too nervous—I was just excited and anxious to compete.”

Farrington mentioned that his first time spectating at the FEI World Cup Final was at the 2001 show, in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he traveled after winning the Maxine Beard Award.  The Maxine Beard Award recognizes an up-and-coming talent in show jumping, and provides them with a trip to that year’s World Cup Finals. It’s an educational experience for them—walking the courses with the riders and watching the world’s best duke it out.  Sally Ike, the USEF director of show jumping, points out that developing riders such as Farrington is the exact goal of the award.

This year’s Maxine Beard Award winner was Charlie Jayne, and he soaked up all the atmosphere and experience.  He also started a hotly contested poker tournament back at the stables with Margie Engle, betting horse cookies in intense competition behind the scenes.

Engle herself rode to the next-best American finish in the KL Grand Prix, taking 10th aboard Hidden Creek’s Alibi.  Alison Firestone was right behind her in 11th on La Supra.  They each had one rail in the first round.  They’ll both be gearing back up for World Cup Final action tomorrow, Apr. 30, as they’re the two top-placed Americans after the first two rounds.  Check in to see who wins, and where they end up!

For complete results of the KL Grand Prix, click here…

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