Show jumping took centerstage Thursday at the 137th National Horse Show as partnerships took to the Alltech Arena for the first day of jumper contests, with four classes offering opportunities to collect prize money. The evening’s highlight class, the Phelps Media Group $72,900 International Welcome Stake CSI4*, showcased the efforts of top-ranked international challengers hailing from seven nations, namely the United States, Israel, Ireland, Great Britain, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada. Speeding to the head of the rankings as the most efficient duo of the skilled pack, Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance (Lord Z x Notaris), the horse he co-owns with Haity McNerney, added another accolade to their lengthy list, topping a 9-horse jump-off field to claim the lead spot in the victory gallop.
Attracting the likes of American competitors that included Longines FEI World No. 8 Beezie Madden (USA), No. 10 McLain Ward (USA), No. 11 Farrington, plus international entries such as Daniel Bluman (ISR), Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Shane Sweetnam (IRL), the Phelps Media Group $72,900 International Welcome Stake CSI4* boasted a start list of elite talent. Well-respected veteran course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) crafted the first-round track of 16 efforts, which effectively separated the best performers from the group. The trailblazers, Deslauriers and Uris De La Roque were the first to go and immediately logged a clear trip, and they were soon joined by Farrington on Creedance, Alex Granato (USA) riding Carlchen W and Adam Prudent (USA) with Baloutinue. A number more successful efforts followed from Lillie Keenan (USA) aboard Fasther, Devin Ryan (USA) riding Eddie Blue, David Blake (IRL) aboard Keoki, Sweetnam on Indra Van De Oude Heihoef and Spencer Smith (USA) with Quibelle to bring the total list of qualified jump-off contenders to nine.
Whittled down to representatives from Canada, the United States and Ireland, the exhibitors in the tie-breaker round ultimately produced a mere four double-clear performances for the night’s highlight event. Proving why they are consistently ranked one of the top finishers in the world in upper-echelon competitions, Farrington and Creedance set the pace as the first partnership to leave all the rails in their cups for a second time, stopping the clock in 33.25 seconds. Though the seven subsequent teams tried to chase them down, none could catch the swift time set by Farrington and Creedance, solidifying them as the victors. Riding Page Tredennicks’s ever-speedy Carlchen W, Granato jumped to the runner-up spot in a fault-free 33.61 seconds, followed by Keenan and Chansonette Farm LLC’s Fasther in third position in 34.75 seconds to make for an all-American podium.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Kent Farrington (USA) – Phelps Media Group $72,900 International Welcome Stake CSI4* winner
On coming to the end of the competition year:
“2020 was a crazy year, so I am definitely happy that I have such great support with great owners and great horses. 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.”
On the courses in the Phelps Media Group $72,900 Welcome Stake CSI4*:
“In the US we don’t get to jump a lot indoors. 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.”