Kent Farrington of the United States opened international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show by scoring victory in the $38,000 Jolera International Strength and Speed Challenge on Wednesday, November 9, as part of the 100th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
Competing over a “power and speed” track designed by Michel Vaillancourt, riders had to navigate eight fences fault-free within the 45-second time allowed before immediately advancing to the speed portion of the course. Of the 12 horse-and-rider combinations to jump clear through the first phase, Farrington and Austria 2 were the fastest in the speed phase, stopping the clock in 30.08 seconds. It marked a repeat victory for pair, who also won in 2019.
“Austria is a hyper-competitive modern show jumper, so almost any course suits her,” said Farrington of the 14-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x San Patrignano Corrado) owned by Take the High Road LLC. “She’s won some five-star grand prix classes and jumped at some of the biggest shows in the world, but as she’s gotten older now, I try to pick classes that I think are a little bit easier for her to jump. She’s a great winner and has been since day one, and I think she will be until the end of her career.”
Ireland’s Conor Swail, currently ranked number five in the Longines World Rankings, came the closest to catching Farrington’s time. Swail stopped the clock fractions of a second off the winning pace in 30.41 seconds riding Theo 160, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Christian 25 x Calando IV) he owns in partnership with Team Philippaerts. Colombian Olympian Roberto Teran placed third with BP Wakita, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Pacino x Cruising) owned by Trefoil Farm LLC, finishing in a time of 30.60 seconds.
The highlight of the CSI5*-W Royal Horse Show is the highly anticipated $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto which will take place in front of a sold-out audience of over 7,000 people on Saturday evening, November 12. Riders will be looking to earn valuable qualifying points toward the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final taking place in Omaha, NE, next April.
“It’s great to be back at the Royal,” expressed Farrington, who won the Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Toronto in 2017. “I can see they put a lot of effort into the 100th anniversary of the show; the place looks great. The atmosphere and the crowd are always fantastic as well, so it’s a super start to one of my favourite shows of the year.”
Following the opening day of international competition, the stage is set for an incredible week of world-class show jumping, featuring athletes representing 11 countries. The fan-favourite $138,000 Big Ben International Challenge takes place Thursday evening, November 10, while Friday night ups the adrenaline factor with the $75,000 Royal Centennial Cup Speed Challenge.
“There’s usually a strong field of riders here and this year is no exception,” said Farrington, 41, a U.S. Olympic team silver medalist. “We have several riders ranked in the top 30 in the world, which is great for North American show jumping. It helps to raise the level of the sport and gives a great glimpse of top-notch sport to a lot of the people here that might not see it on a regular basis.”
In Wednesday evening’s $38,000 McKee Family International Challenge, three-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of the United States and Catoki, owned by Ward, Bob Russell, and Marilla van Beuren, did what they do best, racing to the top of the leaderboard in 46.21 seconds. Ireland’s Conor Swail put in a strong effort riding Count Me In for second-place honours in 49.35 seconds, while Nayel Nassar of Egypt finished third with El Conde in 50.63 seconds.
For more information, please visit www.royalfair.org/horse-show.
$38,000 Jolera International Strength and Speed Challenge – Final Results
Rider / Nation / Horse / Faults / Time
1. Kent Farrington / USA / Austria 2 / 0 / 30.08
2. Conor Swail / IRL / Theo 160 / 0 / 30.41
3. Roberto Teran / COL / BP Wakita / 0 / 30.60
4. Rowan Willis / AUS / Blue Movie / 0 / 30.81
5. Rodrigo Pessoa / BRA / Chili / 0 / 32.05
6. Sam Walker / CAN / Angelika Hero Z / 0 / 32.34
7. Laura Kraut / USA / Calgary Tame / 0 / 35.31
8. Amy Millar / CAN / Truman / 0 / 36.41
9. Ben Maher / GBR / Ginger-Blue / 4 / 31.87
10. Tiffany Foster / CAN / Vienna / 4 / 35.82
11. Beat Mändli / SUI / Chartraine Pre Noir / 8 / 32.50
12. Nayel Nassar / EGY / Coronado / 13 / 51.05
$38,000 McKee Family International Challenge – Final Results
Rider / Nation / Horse / Faults / Time
1. McLain Ward / USA / Catoki / 0 / 46.21
2. Conor Swail / IRL / Count Me In / 0 / 49.35
3. Nayel Nassar / EGY / El Conde / 0 / 50.63
4. Daniel Coyle IRL / Quintin / 0 / 50.89
5. Jos Verlooy / BEL / Newmarket Influence / 0 / 52.51
6. Laura Kraut / USA / Confu / 0 / 52.72
7. Rodrigo Pessoa / BRA / Major Tom / 0 / 55.18
8. Sam Walker / CAN / Evita / 4 / 50.48
9. Daniel Bluman / ISR / Ubiluc / 4 / 50.74
10. Amy Millar / CAN / Christiano / 4 / 50.84
11. Nicholas Dello Joio / USA / Cornet’s Cambridge / 4 / 57.11
12. Susan Horn / CAN / Kirlo van den Bosrand / 4 / 57.34