Offaly rider Darragh Kenny on Cassini Z won the $132,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI 3* event, the highlight of week three of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.
Saturday night’s Grand Prix had 45 initial entries with 16 combinations going clear, making for a very competitive and fast jump-off. Kenny on Cassini Z, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Cassini II x Capone, came out on top in a winning time of 38.21 seconds.
Kenny and Cassini Z were fast from the start and never let up to finish ahead of American Jessica Springsteen on RMF Swinny du Parc (38.23secs), with another US rider Adrienne Sternlicht on Christalline taking third in 39.36 seconds.
“I think the two girls’ horses have quite a big stride,” Kenny said of the jump-off. “So, one to two, definitely Adrienne got there pulling at the end. For me, it was running the whole way. I think my horse just kept running in all of the lines, so just gradually over the length of the course he made up the time. He’s very, very careful, so I don’t really have to worry about the jumps as much as the turning.”
Fourth place went to Jessica Mendoza (GBR) on her own Toy Boy in 40 seconds flat, while another Irish rider, Jordan Coyle, who had won the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round One in Florida earlier this month, and Eristov were fifth in 40.55 seconds.
Kenny had celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this week with victory in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic with Important de Muze in Florida.
The $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic had 53 entries competing in a two-phase power and speed format over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada.
Kenny and Important de Muze, a 10-year-old BWP gelding, were the fastest clear in the second round with a time of 30.98 seconds; second place went to Canadian Erynn Ballard on Don’s Diamant (31.18 secs), with Laura Chapot (USA) and Mary Chapot’s Chandon Blue third in 31.19 seconds.