Darragh Kenny (Ireland) and Great-Tikila J on the way to winning the Horseware Ireland Grand Prix in Florida recently. Photo: Sportfot/Horse Sport Ireland.

Kenny continues superb form with another victory in Florida

Darragh Kenny claimed victory in the Captive One Advisors Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida last Sunday evening.

The Offaly showjumping ace guided Vertige De Galarzacs, owned by Morning Star Sporthorses, to success in the 1.50m Grand Prix event worth $50,000.

A total of 43 combinations contested the opening round, with just six pairs qualifying for the jump-off.

Kenny, the current overall leader of the CaptiveOne Advisors 1m50 Classic Series, proved once again why he’s at the top, picking up the win aboard the 12-year-old when crossing the line in 36.01.

“I didn’t jump him in any classes this week,” said Kenny of the winning gelding. “I just went straight into the Grand Prix so he was a little bit more fresh. He jumped excellent and felt fantastic. He’s just a really, really nice horse.

“He was jumping really well so I didn’t have to worry about that so much,” continued the Belmont native. “He felt really good, I just wasn’t sure if the inside turn after the third last jump was going to be faster or not. It turned out to be faster so that was good,” Kenny added.

The latest success comes hot on the heels of Kenny scooping the top prize in the three-star Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.

Riding Great-Tikila J the previous weekend, Kenny captured the $137,000 Horseware Ireland three-star Grand Prix.

Ten of the 45 starters made it into the jump-off where Kenny piloted his ten-year-old mare to a clear round in 35.24 seconds for the victory.

“I actually got very lucky in the jump-off, to be honest,” said Kenny. “I had planned to do the six [strides] like everybody did in the first line, then turned very tight back to the double, and she tried really hard. I had a hard rub on the back rail jumping out but got away with it.”

Kenny and his sponsors purchased the mare just over a year ago, and the win was even sweeter as it was also the first Grand Prix of her career.

“When we bought her, she was very green having only jumped 1.30m, but she’s extremely talented,” said Kenny after the victory. “She’s careful, scopey, brave, a little bit of a mare sometimes, but in the ring her ability is incredible. I was really happy with her because I aimed her for this week. She jumped clear in the WEF and then jumped super today and felt really good.

“We’ve developed her slowly,” Kenny continued. “She’s a little bit temperamental sometimes where you have to take everything slow, so I played around with her on the grass a few other weeks, did some stuff at home, and then thought, ‘Okay, I have her in the right spot for this week’.”

The recent victories come as a timely boost for Kenny as the build-up continues to the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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