First & Second for Darragh Kenny at Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida

The tenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival got off to a strong start for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny with the Irish rider claiming a one-two finish in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic CSI 3* riding Chakito and Horst van de Mispeleare respectively.

Sixty-eight entries contested the $35,000 power and speed format class, but none could catch Kenny. He and Chakito, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, stopped the clock in a winning time of 36.799 seconds.

Kenny’s second mount in the class, Horst van de Mispeleare, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, finished in a close second with a time of 37.018 seconds, and Karen Polle (JPN) took third in 37.647 seconds riding her own Little Lord 90.

“These 1.45m speed classes and two phase classes are so fast nowadays,” said Kenny. “Every time you go in, you have to go absolutely 100 percent to win or you might as well just school around, because you’re not going to get a ribbon any other way.

“The course suited me with both horses,” said Kenny of the track set by Olympic individual silver medallist and Pan American Games designer Michel Vaillancourt of Canada.

“I didn’t have to go too crazy at the start. It was a nice two phase, so it was nice to go around the first phase and get them both going around good. Then in the jump-off part, both of mine are quite good at galloping at jumps, so it suited them both.”

Kenny spoke highly of his second place entry, Horst van de Mispeleare, who he began riding a month ago:

“It’s actually one that my girlfriend, [Jessica Mendoza], used to ride,” said Kenny. “Jess and I are very good between the two of us – whatever doesn’t work for one can work for the other. We swap and change a little bit and see what works, and the horse seems to work for me. I think it’s a really cool horse.”

Kenny will next point both horses at the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI 3* on Friday, March 16.

Final Result: $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic CSI3*

1 Chakito & Darragh Kenny (IRL) 0/0/36.79 seconds.

2 Horst van de Mispelaere & Darragh Kenny (IRL) 0/0/37.01 seconds.

3 Little Lord & Karen Polle (JPN) 0/0/37.64 seconds.

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