Darragh Kenny and Windbreaker Top Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jump-Off at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival

Darragh Kenny and Windbreaker. Photo © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com.
Darragh Kenny and Windbreaker. Photo © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com.

Wellington, FL - January 9, 2015 - Week one of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Friday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, with the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off and Speed Challenge classes held in the International Arena in the afternoon. The jump-off class went first with a win for Ireland's Darragh Kenny aboard Windbreaker. The Speed Challenge saw a win for Laura Chapot (USA) and Shooting Star. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through March 29, 2015, awarding over $8.2 million in prize money.

Eric Hasbrouck (USA) set the course for the day's 1.40m competition with a busy schedule of show jumping. The $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class saw 77 entries in total 15 clears in round one. Entries jumped off immediately following their first round where seven more went double clear.

David Beisel and Equine Holdings LLC's Ammeretto were the first pair to jump double clear over the short course and held the lead through much of the class with their time of 32.69 seconds, but eventually finished in third place. Darragh Kenny came along many rounds later with Windbreaker and took the lead in 31.89 seconds. Victoria Colvin and Karen Long Dwight's Chanel B 2 jumped into second place at the end of the class in 32.59 seconds.

Class winner, Windbreaker, is a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker x Farmer. Kenny explained that he was just schooling the horse for its owner, but easily breezed past the leaders to take over the top position.

"This is only the second time I have ridden the horse," Kenny detailed. "It is trained by Laura Bowery, and it is owned by Kerry McCahill. It is actually her junior jumper. I was just riding it in a class or two for her this week to give it a school."

"Laura said to me that it is a really quick horse and it is super easy, so it was easy to go fast on him," Kenny said of his jump-off. "He is super nice to ride, very uncomplicated and very careful. I think he will make a really good junior jumper."

"I didn't know the horse and actually I didn't see David go either, so I just went as quick as the horse felt comfortable with and it turned out to be good enough," Kenny added of his round. "It is a quick horse and he is very uncomplicated, so I could do whatever I wanted, and it was very easy just to be fast on him."

Kenny praised this week's course designer, Eric Hasbrouck, on another great track, noting, "He has been super. Eric is a brilliant course designer. He rode himself, so he knows a lot about it and I think the courses this week have been great."

Kenny looks to show Windbreaker a few more times throughout the circuit in preparation for his rider. "It will be just doing the same thing, a couple of schooling classes to have him set up for Kerry, and Laura will ride him a little bit as well. Between us all I think the horse should go really well," he stated.

Kenny has a big group of horses to show throughout the winter and looks forward to a great few months. "I have a lot of good horses for this circuit, so hopefully it goes really well," he concluded.
 
Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge was held later in the afternoon with a win for Laura Chapot aboard Mary Chapot's Shooting Star. Forty-nine entries showed with 13 clear rounds. Chapot and Shooting Star jumped the fastest clear round in 62.14 seconds early in the class. Nicolas Pizarro and Jacobo Zaga's Calvaretto finished second in 62.45 seconds. Chapot also took third place honors with Mary Chapot's Zealous in 62.84 seconds.

Brooke Banks and Brodeur. Photo © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com.
Brooke Banks and Brodeur. Photo © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com.

Brooke Banks Wins Adult Amateur 18-35 Section A Championship in First Week as Amateur Rider
While it's far from Brooke Banks' maiden season in Wellington, she is jumping her first fences as an amateur rider this week. When the clock struck 12 on New Year's Eve, she shed her junior status and set her sights once again on the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival, this time as an amateur. Not letting her new title faze her, however, Banks jumped her own eight-year-old Mecklenburg gelding Brodeur to the championship in Section A of the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter division.

Banks and Brodeur boasted two third-place performances over fences yesterday and returned today to win both the Under Saddle and the first of two final jumping tests. Trainer Ron Esposito admits that watching the always quiet and regal Brodeur take home the brag-worthy flat win was no surprise. "I've only met two Mecklenburgs, but they were both quiet and consistent," he said. "I don't have many in my barn, but I plan to find more."
 
Posting consistent top performances, Lexey Hall collected Reserve Champion aboard her own Lacoste. The pair was first and second over fences yesterday and returned to collect third today, as well as fourth under saddle.
 
Banks has enjoyed her share of early success with Brodeur, a horse she only acquired a year ago from Patricia Griffith and Heritage Farm. Their 2014 goal of jumping at USEF Junior Hunter Finals was realized at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show this summer. "I rode him in Hunter Finals in Harrisburg, was fourth overall and haven't ridden him since," said Banks.

Brooke Banks and Brodeur in their championship presentation. Photo © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com.
Brooke Banks and Brodeur in their championship presentation. Photo © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com.

A freshman at Cornell University, 18-year-old Banks is juggling a Communications course load and collegiate extra curricular activities, in addition to a robust riding schedule, leaving Brodeur's schooling to Esposito. "My trainer kept him [Brodeur] in great shape for me. To come back to WEF and win right away is a great feeling. I'm really excited for the rest of the circuit - I am hoping to get down here more than originally planned," she commented. "I love that his stride is big, but he goes slow - every distance is always right there. His jump is so smooth, and he comes up nicely with his knees," she said.
 
While an obvious competitor in the ring, Brodeur is a pocket-pony in the barn, according to Banks. "He has the best personality - in the barn he is so quiet and always sleeping," she concluded with a smile. "He's like a pet that then goes into the ring and jumps around beautifully."

While an obvious competitor in the ring, Brodeur is a pocket-pony in the barn, according to Banks. "He has the best personality - in the barn he is so quiet and always sleeping," she concluded with a smile. "He's like a pet that then goes into the ring and jumps around beautifully."
 
The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Saturday with the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at 2 p.m. and the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, the first "Saturday Night Lights" event of the circuit, at 7 p.m. Hunter and equitation competition continue as well with the EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division awarding championships in the Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
 
Final Results: $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jump-Off
1 2868 WINDBREAKER DARRAGH KENNY CHLOE D REID LLC: 0/0/31.891
2 2254 CHANEL B 2 VICTORIA COLVIN KAREN LONG DWIGHT: 0/0/32.594
3 4062 AMMERETTO DAVID BEISEL EQUINE HOLDINGS LLC: 0/0/32.693
4 3281 TEMASCALTEPEC NICOLAS PIZARRO ARMANDO TORRADO: 0/0/32.869
5 4518 BIALDA RAMIRO QUINTANA ST. BRIDE'S FARM: 0/0/33.528
6 5136 G&C CLOSE UP LUIS LARRAZABAL SAN FRANCISCO STABLES LLC: 0/0/35.463
7 1946 QUINCY CAR FERNANDO CARDENAS FERNANDO CARDENAS: 0/0/36.532
8 4461 QUIDAM MB ADRIENNE STERNLICHT STARLIGHT FARMS LLC: 0/4/33.384
9 2431 AX-CENT KENNETH BERKLEY RIVERS EDGE: 0/4/34.416
10 120 POWERPLAY ERIC LAMAZE ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 0/4/34.430
11 3811 WINN WINN ANDREW RAMSAY ANDREW RAMSAY: 0/4/35.225
12 4773 CASSINJO DAVID BLAKE PINE HOLLOW FARM: 0/4/35.545




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