Wellington, FL - Week eleven of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Artisan Farms, continued on Thursday with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Red Star d'Argent in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11. Competing in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, the pair beat out Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance in second, and Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) aboard Limestone Grey in third.
WEF 11 features CSI 4* rated jumper and 'AA' rated hunter competition running March 23-27, 2016. Friday features the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic in the morning and the 9th Annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship in the evening.
Saturday highlights the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, presented by Equiline, on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 11 a.m. with a brunch hosted by Equiline in the Tiki Hut at The Stadium beginning at 10:30 a.m. The $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event in the International Ring on the main show grounds Saturday evening beginning at 7:45 p.m.
Competition concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic also held on the derby field at The Stadium. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the course for the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Coup Round 11 on Thursday with 65 entries and 17 advancing to the jump-off. Eight of those were able to complete double clear rounds over the short course with Darragh Kenny and Red Star d'Argent clocking the fastest time of 37.52 seconds. Farrington and RCG Farm's Creedance finished just off the mark in the slimmest of margins in 37.53 seconds to place second. De Luca and his own and Stephex Stables' Limestone Grey followed with the third place time of 38.51 seconds.
Red Star d'Argent is an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star that Kenny's Oakland Ventures and Sergio Alvarez Moya own in partnership. Moya sent the horse to Kenny to be sold this winter, and the pair has had fantastic results. They already won the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* during week six competition, as well as the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4* in week eight.
Speaking of what he has learned about the horse, Kenny stated, "He likes to win. He is a fighter. He wants to be careful, he wants to be good, and he wants to win. I just have to not screw it up.
"He has been doing great, so we will just take our time and see what happens," the rider continued. "I am having a lot of fun. He is a great horse. He twisted a shoe two weeks ago and put the clip up his foot and was lame for a few days, so we could not ride him. I only started riding him again on Saturday, and jogged on Tuesday and he felt good, so we went today. He is just an incredible horse. I have used him very sparingly this winter, but every time he comes out, he comes out great."
Coming out the ring after Thursday's jump-off, Kenny did not think that he had done enough to get the win with the fast combinations still to go, but he got a little lucky.
"I did not think I was fast enough. Kent is extremely fast, and he actually would have been faster," Kenny explained. "He did one more stride to the last fence just because his horse shifted right at the second to last, but he would have been faster otherwise. I kind of got lucky there. There were a lot of fast riders like Lisa Goldman, and a couple of the others still to go, so you never know until the end."
Detailing his jump-off, Kenny noted, "It is kind of the same thing I do with that horse. He is quick, and I just go as fast as I feel I can. I felt I was a little bit slow to the orange vertical, and that is where I thought I left a bit of time, but I knew that was the right thing to do for him. He felt great, and the rest of it was super. Kent's horse is a super horse and Kent is an amazing rider and I knew he was going to be very fast, so I had to do as much as I felt comfortable with."
In addition to the winning prize money, Kenny earned a $3,000 bonus for wearing his SSG 'Digital' style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves 'Go Clean for the Green' promotion.
The eleventh week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic featured in the International Ring in the morning and the 9th Annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championships in the evening.
For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11
1. RED STAR D'ARGENT: 2005 Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures & Sergio Alvarez Moya: 0/0/37.52
2. CREEDANCE: 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Lord Z x Notaris KENT FARRINGTON (USA), RCG Farm: 0/0/37.53
3. LIMESTONE GREY: 2006 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Try-Time LORENZO DE LUCA (ITA), Stephex Stables & Lorenzo de Luca: 0/0/38.51
4. HEROS: 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Canadian River x Clinton AMY MILLAR (CAN), AMMO Investments: 0/0/39.62
5. BUCKLE UP: 2006 KWPN gelding by Colandro x Caretino SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), The Blue Buckle Group: 0/0/40.17
6. FAPE FOX TROT V D PADENBORRE: 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Chin Chin x Fleuri du Manoir FABIO LEIVAS (BRA), Marco Antonio Alencar: 0/0/40.42
7. ESPRIT: 2004 BWP gelding by Querlybet Hero x Nabab de Reve SLOANE COLES (USA), The Springledge Group: 0/0/41.81
8. COCO BONGO: 2005 Rheinlander stallion by Caretino x Calido ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/0/42.45
9. CENTURION B: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Rebel Z I x Indoctro LISA GOLDMAN (USA), Mary Goldman: 0/4/37.98
10. CAVALIA: 2007 KWPN mare by Vittorio x Jonggor's Ajonc LAURA KRAUT (USA), St. Bride's Farm: 0/4/38.11
11. ROSIERE VESQUERIE: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Narcos II x Arpege Pierreville LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/4/39.92
12. ISHD DUAL STAR: 2002 Irish Sport Horse mare by Quick Star x Concorde LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Mary Chapot: 0/4/40.39