Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Nerina Shines As A New Star At Cleveland Grand Prix

Kent Farrington has been on a winning streak this summer, claiming top prizes in six grand prix classes since April aboard Up Chiqui. But at the Chagrin Valley Classic, July 18-22 in Mooreland Hills, Ohio, a new star stepped up to keep Farrington’s streak alive.

Nerina and Farrington topped a seven-horse jump-off field to take the top check in the $50,000 Cleveland Grand Prix. His clear round in 35.09 seconds was almost 2 seconds faster than anyone else.

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Kent Farrington has been on a winning streak this summer, claiming top prizes in six grand prix classes since April aboard Up Chiqui. But at the Chagrin Valley Classic, July 18-22 in Mooreland Hills, Ohio, a new star stepped up to keep Farrington’s streak alive.

Nerina and Farrington topped a seven-horse jump-off field to take the top check in the $50,000 Cleveland Grand Prix. His clear round in 35.09 seconds was almost 2 seconds faster than anyone else.

“I don’t really know Nerina that well; I’ve had her for a month and a half, and today was my third grand prix [class] with her. I tried to go as fast as I thought the horse was ready to go and not to make too many mistakes. She’s careful and fast,” he said of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare.

Margie Engle jumped-off aboard Hidden Creek’s Calippo 12 and appeared to have Farrington beat, but as she crossed the timers, the scoreboard flashed a time of 36.73 seconds, ultimately earning the duo a second-placed finish. This marked the end of her four-year winning streak at Cleveland.

“He was quick at the beginning and got a little too cautious at the middle,” Engle said about the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding. “I tried to be cautious at the one fence because a lot of the horses were rubbing it. He’s a fun horse, and it’s fun for me to have him coming up.”

“Knowing Margie was going behind me in the jump-off… I knew I had to be quick and hoped it would be fast enough to beat her. I was happy to be lucky today,” said Farrington.

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With his Cleveland win, Farrington, 26, qualified for a new $50,000 bonus, presented by Fred Baker Audi this year. Organizers of the Cleveland Grand Prix, along with the American Gold Cup organizers (both shows are held annually at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills, Ohio) established a $50,000 challenge to sweeten the pot for grand prix competitors and encourage the world’s best grand prix riders to travel to northeast Ohio.

The basics of the challenge are simple. Any rider who wins the $50,000 Cleveland Grand Prix as well as the $100,000 American Gold Cup in September in the same year with the same horse will be awarded a $50,000 added bonus on top of the usual prize money. Farrington plans to return to Cleveland for the Gold Cup on Sept. 23 to make his bid for victory.

“The bonus was a motivator for me to win,” Farrington said. “I had been gearing up Up Chiqui, which is who I consider to be my best grand prix horse, to win and go for the Gold Cup bonus.”

Up Chiqui changed his plans by pulling two rails in the first round, and Farrington pulled him up. So, his new mount, Nerina—owned by Javier Salvador—stepped up to save the day.
 
Chuck Waters, 56, of Sparr, Fla., rode his own bay, 747, to claim the third-placed finish with a clean round in 40.47 seconds. “I didn’t want to win for myself—I wanted to win for the old guys who can’t ride anymore,” he said with a laugh. “747 is a big, slow French horse I got from my friend, Barney Ward. McLain Ward did very well with him in the 7- and 8-year-old classes, and after that is when I bought him, and have now had him for almost three years.”

Earlier in the week, Michael Morrissey of Bradenton, Fla., won the $10,000 Welcome Stake aboard Eugene Mische’s Crabamboli, while Candice King claimed the winning purse in the $5,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed Stake riding Perfekt Group’s Perfekt.

The Cleveland Grand Prix has historic significance in the equestrian world because the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field is the site of the nation’s first grand prix in 1965. The Hunter Jumper Classic raises money for a number of local charities, including the Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Bainbridge, Ohio, which provides therapy and education-based equine facilitated programs for children and adults with disabilities.

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