It was a no-holds-barred race against the clock in the 13-horse jump-off at the $250,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI-W at the CP National Horse Show on Sunday afternoon. Kent Farrington and Voyeur showed their veteran status, handling tight turns and sharp rollbacks in stride, Kent never taking his foot off the gas. For Kent, it was his second Grand Prix win of the week, having taken the blue aboard Willow in the $130,000 CP Grand Prix on Thursday night.
Of 35 starters, 13 were clear with nobody retiring on the Guilerme Jorge designed-course. It was a Longines single vertical off a turn that caused the most trouble, as did a Longines plank, the first element of a double combination.
The last fence tumbled for an unfortunate few that were otherwise clear as horse and rider gunned it down the line, hustling toward the Liverpool. But in all, it was a strong showing from the 35 combinations vying for a place in Gothenburg next March.
Harrie Smolders and Emerald, winners of the President’s Cup Grand Prix in D.C. just one week ago, were first to go in the jump-off. They weren’t the only pair to make back-to-back jump-off appearances in the World Cup qualifiers: Jos Verlooy, Nicola Philappaertes, Callan Solem, and Jack Towell joined Harrie and Emerald.
Harrie started fast, knowing that with 12 still to jump it’d take a lightning pace and clear round to win it. Unfortunately the duo had two rails, slowing their pace toward the end to finish at 36.67 seconds. Of the next 12 combinations, there were only 4 faults incurred. Nicola Phillapaerts aboard H&M Forever d’Arco Ter Linden – 3rd in the President’s Cup – were fast, coming in shade under 34 seconds, but suffered a rail on the 3rd fence, putting them out of the running.
With so many clear, it was a battle against the clock for a field of veterans. Beezie Madden, Laura Kraut, McLain Ward, and Leslie Howard showed the crowd how it’s meant to be done as one after another were clean and fast. But ultimately Kent Farrington took the blue, Voyeur taking the fences in stride, saving precious seconds with hair-pin turns to the third and last fences. Voyeur had a slight rub on the last, the purple pole wobbling dangerously in it’s cups – but the show jumping Gods were on their side as they crossed the finish clear.
Voyeur, a 13 year-old Dutch Warmblood, has no shortage of talent or spunk. “The horse is very hot to ride,” say Farrington of Voyeur, “he’s pretty wild actually. Laura and I were joking around about what we consider a normal horse and what everyone else considers a normal horse. We’re both known for riding sort of erratic or special horses. He’s very fresh, so you usually have to be a little bit awake when you’re riding him because he can spin very quickly and he can spook at a lot of things. He’s a handful but I think most of the good ones are.”
1. Kent Farrington – Voyeur
2. Laura Kraut – Deauville S
3. Olivier Philippaerts – H&M Challenge vd Begijnakker Z
4. Beezie Madden – Breitling LS
5. Jack Hardin Towell – Emilie De Diamant A S
6. Jos Verlooy – Sunshine
7. Conor Swail – Viva Colombia
8. McLain Ward – HH Azur
Sources: FEI.org, Esther Hahn