Competition during the ESP Holiday II CSI4* continued in the International Arena on Saturday, December 12, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Fifty-six horse-and-rider combinations took on Hector Loyola’s (PUR) course in the $37,000 JTWG, Inc. 1.45m CSI4*. Top honors in the class went to Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Belo Horizonte, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC.
The pair has already proven to be a successful match, having won the $25,000 Year End National Grand Prix, presented by #1 Education Place, last week. Competition will continue for one final day at the ESP Holiday II CSI4*, which concludes Sunday, December 13. The final day of showing will feature the $214,000 Holiday II Grand Prix CSI4*, presented by Spy Coast Farm.
“I think in all of the classes I’ve jumped him in, he’s had one jump down [total],” commented Kenny of Belo Horizonte, a 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Clearway. “He’s extremely careful. I was just happy I rode well today and the horse went great so it was a nice result.”
Course designer Loyola designed a track including 12 elements up to 1.45m in height and a time-allowed of 85 seconds. The course saw 19 clear rounds, with McLain Ward (USA) and Catoki (Catoki x Cartello B) leading the majority of the class. Ward and Catoki, owned by Marilla Van Beuren, Bob Russell and Ward, were hot off a win in the $37,000 Vobev Holiday II Opener CSI4* on Thursday and looking to add another win to their list for the week. The pair ultimately finished in third place after stopping the clock fault-free in 64.60 seconds. Another frequent winner, Kent Farrington (USA) and Take the High Road, LLC’s Austria 2 (Casall x Corrado I), claimed second place with a quick time of 63.04 seconds, just fractions of a second behind Kenny and Belo Horizonte, who rode near the end of the starting list with a winning time of 62.94 seconds.
“I’ll build him up a little bit more during circuit. Maybe jump the 1.50m classes and maybe some of the three-star grand prix classes, then see how that goes,” Kenny said regarding his goals for Belo Horizonte. “He can do jump-offs – he won the National Grand Prix last week with a jump off – and this week he won the speed. I think he’s just a really, really talented horse.”
Kenny is hoping to take top honors again tomorrow in the $214,000 Holiday II Grand Prix CSI4*, presented by Spy Coast Farm, this time with Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Scarlett Du Sart Z. He will face an international field of 44 other entries.
“It’s always nice to win here, and it’s nice to be back here. I like being in one place, and I’m happy to be starting out on a good note,” described Kenny of being back at PBIEC.