Ireland on fire again as Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival heats up

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Darragh Kenny and Red Star d'Argent won the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4* at Florida's Winter Equestrian Festival.
Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent won the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4* at Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

The winning ways of Ireland’s showjumpers are again to the fore at this season’s Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, with Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent taking out the week’s big prize, the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4*.

Riders representing five different countries qualified for the jump-off, with Kenny leading the way for Ireland over Colombia’s Roberto Teran Jr. and Woklahoma in second, and Australia’s Matt Williams aboard Valinski S in third.

Roberto Teran Jr. and Woklahoma
Roberto Teran Jr. and Woklahoma

Kenny was also presented the Niall Grimes “Cheers” Perpetual Trophy, which is presented each year to the top Irish rider during the CSIO Nations’ Cup week.

Another special award was presented to fellow Irishman Conor Swail. Swail earned the Kate Nash Boone Style Award as the international equestrian who exemplifies best style of riding along with maintaining a sportsmanlike composure while competing in the CSIO Nations’ Cup week at WEF.

Red Star d’Argent is an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (by Quick Star) that Kenny’s Oakland Ventures owns in partnership with Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya. This was the second win of the circuit for the newly paired duo, who also topped the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* during week six competition at The Stadium at PBIEC.

Both Teran and Williams are aiming for the Rio Olympics.

Canada’s Tiffany Foster was also presented the award for Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week eight, an award sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

On Wednesday Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 led an Irish quinella with an extra emerald isle twist at the show, winning the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumper Classic.

The speedy combination won in a time of 59.25 from countryman Conor Swail and Dillinger in 59.76 seconds, and Chilean rider Samuel Parot third on Couscous van Orti in 60.93 seconds.

Not only were the top two riders from Ireland, so was course designer Alan Wade, who was described by Sweetnam as one of the best.  “He has a great feel for the job. He tries to be very smart about his courses. He never wants to kill anyone in a class, but he definitely catches people in different areas, which is quite clever course building sometimes. That is a sign of a good course designer, when everyone at the end of the day is happy, and he also gets the amount of clears he wants. He is very good that way.”

Cyklon 1083 has been a successful breeding stallion for many years, and Sweetnam now has the opportunity to ride one of his progeny, Cobolt, a ten-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cyklon 1083 x Camaro M). Sweetnam bought Cobolt in partnership with several owners that make up the Blue Buckle Group and has been showing the horse lightly throughout the WEF circuit as they get to know each other.

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 won the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumper Classic at the WEF this week.
Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 won the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumper Classic at the WEF this week.

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