Kent Farrington wins National H.S. Welcome Stakes while Karl Cook wins the Speed class
October 31, 2020
By Staff Writers
LEXINGTON, Ky.--Kent Farrington rode Creedance to win the $72,900 International Welcome Stake CSI4 on Oct. 29 at the National Horse Show at the Horse Park in Lexington, which was held without spectators, and the next day Karl Cook won the Speed Stake.
Farrington won in a nine horse jump-off against a starting field of top-ranked international riders from seven nations, including the United States, Israel, Ireland, Great Britain, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada.
Kent Farrington on Creedance The jump-off included riders from Canada, the United States and Ireland,with only four double clears on the night’s highlight event.
First to go clean in the jump-off, Farrington stopped the clock in 33.25 seconds, and none of those following could catch his time.
Riding Carlchen W, Alex Granato jumped to the runner-up spot in a fault-free 33.61 seconds, followed by Lillie Keenan on Fasther in third in 34.75 seconds.
“2020 was a crazy year, so I am definitely happy that I have such great support with great owners and great horses," said Farrington. "I feel very lucky that we are still able to compete in our sport. The National Horse Show has done a great job here making it safe. All that being said, Creedence was fantastic. He was really on form today. I thought his jump off was Creedance at his best. He was careful and quick and that is what it took to win tonight.”
“In the US we don’t get to jump a lot indoors," said Farrington. "Luckily, Creedance has a lot of experience competing inside and around the world and I knew that I could count on him to bring him here and have him be reliable. The top three horses here today are competitive at any place with very strong riders and I think that we are all looking forward to the grand prix.”
KARL COOK on Fecybelle won the $36,600 International Speed CSI4* class run under a power-and-speed format.
Karl Cook on FecybelleAs one of the final challengers, Cook beat a skilled pack of international entries by a margin of only half-of-a-second to win.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil built a course of 15 total efforts for thel Speed CSI4*, which saw seven riders go clean over fences that were set at 1.45m to 1.50m in height.
After completing the first round of nine fences, exhibitors who had not incurred any faults immediately advanced to the speed portion of the class without stopping and navigated six obstacles under the clock, and 12 moved on to the speed phase, with seven of those going clean again.
The first to go, Daniel Bluman riding for Israel rode Colestina to the pace-setting round without any faults in 29.38 seconds, but they were quickly overtaken by Jordan Coyle of Ireland on Ariso in a clear time of 28.43 seconds to claim the early lead.
On Catoki, McLain Ward finished in a blazing 26.65 seconds and retained his lead until almost the very end of the class, when Cook and Fecybelle raced around the track in a lightning-fast fault-free time of 26.15 seconds, just edging ahead.
Hunter Holloway moved into the third on Pepita Con Spita in a clear time of 27.84 seconds.
“It is a great arena," said Cook! "They have really done the footing well so with a class like tonight where you are turning as sharp as we did, it feels good. The ambiance in an indoor is always different than an outdoor, and I think the horses definitely feel that. Because of this year’s events, it is the only indoor show I’ll do this year, so it has been really nice.”
“The approach to the short speed class like today, or even a jump-off, is different than how you approach a normal speed," said Cook. "A normal speed is longer so you have to take more into consideration, you can’t just go all out. For me, it was just getting a nice efficient first round and ride nice and accurate. I knew in the jump-off that I wasn’t going to make up time in the lines because I had to do six strides to the combination and six to the skinny oxer that was second to last. I knew that the turn to the first fence in the jump-off, the approach to the third to last, and the going to the last was where you could do it. They were kind of blind turns with a lot of angle. Fecy is super quick over the jumps, she doesn't over jump or anything like that. She really did so well turning today and understanding what I was asking because the angel was a lot. She very well could have said ‘no!’ ”
“I knew I couldn’t really change my plan because there is not really much else to do," said Cokk of going after Ward. "I actually didn’t see anyone go before I went, like with my own eyes, except Rodrigo [Pessoa], who went right before me. All I had to go off of was the jump-off times I was hearing in the warm-up ring. When I heard 28-something and then 27-something seconds, and then McLain went in and got 26.6. I didn’t see any of those, but in my head I figured ‘I guess I will go for second today!’ It didn’t really change my plan because I had to do the same thing anyway and just hope that that was quick enough.”
“It feels really good because I have stayed pretty local to California for the past many years because I just didn’t feel like I was ready," said Cook. "You can always get experience no matter where you go, so I felt it was more efficient to stay around in California. I went to Florida earlier this year, and I was happy with how it went. I didn’t go as well as this, but I didn’t expect coming out here for it to go as well as it has now. It was definitely a surprise to us! I have trained for it and I can’t be more proud of my horses and my whole team. Whenever you do well it gives you confidence and with the way this tour has gone for me, maybe I need to let it not give me too much confidence.”