East Dorset, Vermont — Darragh Kenny of Ireland won the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, Presented by Purina, on Sunday, August 14, to close out the 2011 Vermont Summer Festival. The six-week show jumping tournament took place from July 6 through August 14 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont. “I finally broke my jinx,” said Kenny, who rode Obelix to victory. “I have never done well in this class. I have never jumped clean in the first round, so I was not planning on this being a great day.”
It turned out, however, to be a great day for 23-year-old Kenny, who rides out of North Run for Missy Clark and John Brennan in Warren, Vermont. Kenny posted his first clear round in the competition riding Tangelo Z, an eight-year-old horse that Kenny had ridden for the first time five days earlier. That clear round was quickly followed by another with Wannahave, also a new ride for Kenny.
Callie Schott and Wrigley, owned by John Madden Sales, powered around the course for a third clear round. They were followed by 17-year old-Genevieve Zock of Scarsdale, New York, who was making her Grand Prix debut riding Olinda.
The final horse on course was Obelix, ridden by Kenny. During week five, the pair won the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Design Outlets, as well as the $30,000 Manchester and the Mountains Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors. They once again proved that their success is well-deserved as Obelix carried Kenny to his third clear round of the day.
“The jump-off set up pretty well for me,” said Kenny, who had three chances to claim victory. “Tangelo Z is so new to me and so young. I knew I had to be careful, and I didn’t really want to push him. But I got on him on Wednesday, and then was second in the Welcome on Friday, and now this. I think I really like him! Wannahave I know a bit better, having ridden him for more than a week, but still, at eight years old, I rode him a bit cautiously.”
Kenny’s careful rides on his two young horses paid off with clear rounds, but they were slow enough that the door was open for the horse and riders who followed.
Schott, 25, of Versailles, Kentucky, geared up Wrigley and set out on course. 35.37 seconds later, they crossed through the finish timers and to the top of the leader board. “Last year I showed her here in the 1.20 meter competition and had trouble getting between fences,” said a beaming Schott. “She has really come along, and is so fun to ride.”
Zock was the next rider into the ring, and her youth and enthusiasm carried her through the course. Riding in her first grand prix, the occasion also marked only the eleventh time that Zock had ridden Olinda in a jumper class. In their first attempt, the pair jumped fault-free in a time of 35.58 seconds to eventually place third.
As the last to go, Kenny knew that he and Obelix had a fast time to beat. “Callie’s horse is very handy and I wasn’t sure that I could beat her,” said Kenny. “I just went for it.” Obelix cleared all the obstacles and shaved more than two full seconds off of Schott’s time, stopping the clock in 33.06 seconds for the win. “He has always been a good horse; he has scope, he is careful, and he wants to do it,” said Kenny of the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Missy Clark. “I guess it wasn’t such a bad day!”
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region each summer. Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, Presented by Purina Feeds
1. Darragh Kenny Obelix 0:0 33.06
2. Callie Schott Wrigley 0:0 35.37
3. Genevieve Zock Olinda 0:0 35.58
4. Darragh Kenny Wannahave 0:0 36.05
5. Darragh Kenny Tangelo Z 0:0 36.37
6. Darragh Kerins Hot Wheels 4
7. Timothy Hooker Apollo 4
8. Jimmy Torano Winner 4
9. Andrew Welles Boo Van Het Kastanjehof 4
10. Darragh Kenny Bazooka de Muze 4
11. Paulena Johnson Quastor Van De Helle Z 4
12. Richard McGrath Rugby 4
Photo: Darragh Kenny of Ireland and Obelix won the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, Presented by Purina Feeds, on Sunday, August 14, to close out the six-week Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography