Calgary, AB, Canada – Ireland's Darragh Kenny continued a stellar week at the 'National' Tournament, presented by ROLEX, when he won the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m with Picolo. The 'National' Tournament, presented by ROLEX, is the first of five tournaments in the Summer Series and runs through Sunday, June 8.
The highlight of the week is Saturday's $400,000 RBC Grand Prix presented by ROLEX. Also on Saturday is the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse, while the 210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby is on Sunday, June 8. For his second International Ring win ever, Darragh Kenny set an early unbeatable pace with Oakland Ventures LLC's Picolo. The 11-horse jump-off in the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m was stacked full of big names like Spooner, Foster, Lamaze, and Ward, but Kenny and Picolo completed the jump-off course in their usual smooth fashion in 38.90 seconds. They were 1.3 seconds faster than Richard Spooner (USA) and Amparo Z, owned by Legacy Stables LLC (40.23 seconds). Third place went to Mac Cone (CAN) on Vannety B. They finished in 40.80 seconds.
“I knew there were a lot of people in the jump-off that were very fast,” Kenny acknowledged. “I had to go early in the jump-off. He's a very capable horse; he's very fast. I thought I'd just go for it and leave the door closed. Lucky enough, that worked out for me.”
Kenny was full of praise for Picolo, who is an 11-year-old gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Alme. “He just wins and wins and wins and tries so hard,” he said. “When you get a horse that wants to do that much for you, it's incredible.”
This is only the second year that Kenny has shown at Spruce Meadows; last year he came with more clients and only had one horse for the major classes. “Now I'm lucky, I have a couple of very good owners and some really nice horses, and I get to do this at the level I want to do it at,” he said.
In just three days, Kenny has had 13 top three finishes across four competition rings on eight different horses. When asked if he thought he would have a week like this, he replied, “No, I didn't. I know I have some good horses and some very competitive horses, but you have the best riders in the world here. To try and beat them is very, very difficult. It's extremely difficult to win here. To do that, I'm very lucky. It's all about what you're riding. You can do the best you can, but if you're riding something that doesn't want to win, you have no chance.”
Kenny praised the facility of Spruce Meadows, with the variety of classes, competition rings, and support available. “It's incredible that we have these sponsors and the chance to jump for this prize money in this ring. The feeling when you win here is unbelievable. To win twice in one week (in the International Ring), I'm very happy with that,” he smiled.
He continued, “It's probably the most amazing facility in the world for show jumping. I love jumping on grass. I grew up in Ireland and always jumped on grass. To have the footing that they have here is absolutely brilliant. They have so many rings, and you can do so many things here.”
Final Results: $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m
- Picolo: Warmblood / G / 11 Diamant De Semilly x Alme DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 0/0/38.90
- Amparo Z: Zangersheide / G / 11 Andiamo Z x Calido I RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Legacy Stables LLC: 0/0/40.23
- Vannety B: Belgian Sport Horse / M / 9 Obsession B x Jokinal de Bornival MAC CONE (CAN), Silver Bay Holdings Inc: 0/0/40.80
- Brighton KWPN / G / 8 Contender II x Quick Star TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/40.82
- Check Picobello Z: Zangersheide / G / 8 Cardento x Orlando ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/45.60
- Dulien van de Smeets: Belgian Warmblood / M / 11 Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Unknown MCLAIN WARD (USA), McLain Ward: 0/4/40.27
- La Bamba: Swiss Warmblood / M / 9 Lordanos x Chameur ANTONIO CHEDRAUI (MEX), Antonio Chedrau: 0/4/42.35
- Alpha VDL: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Corland x Emilion DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Eva Castegren: 0/4/43.20
- Brooklyn Blues: Warmblood / M / 10 Balou du Rouet x Fruhlingsball YANN CANDELE (CAN), Carol A. Sollak: 0/4/44.50
- Wilco: Dutch Warmblood / G / 11 Nabab de Reve x Fedor EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Double H Farm: 0/4/45.78
- Johnny Boy: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Unknown x Unknown SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Santiago Lambre: 0/8/40.83
- Quidam Blue: Hanoverian / S / 9 Quidam's Rubin x Come On JILL HENSELWOOD (CAN), Ute Brinkmann: 1/79.16