Thursday evening at the Kentucky Horse Park once again welcomed the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, the second event in the seven-part series, sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. The audience of the Rolex Stadium watched 61 starters over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 16-effort course as an impressive 16 horse-and-rider combinations delivered clear rounds, but once again Andy Kocher (USA) and Kahlua could not be caught and the pair captured their second consecutive win of the Kentucky Spring Classic.
Kocher and Top Line Sporthorse International, LLC’s Kahlua are on a roll after just claiming Wednesday’s highlight event, the $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3*. The dynamic duo was second to enter the ring in the jump-off and they put forth a speedy, clear round in 42.72 seconds that would be closely challenged by the 12 remaining entries, but could never be caught. With the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood in top form, Kocher now aims for Saturday’s $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*.
“[Kahlua] jumped a really easy clear,” Kocher said of his mount. “I looked and saw that there was a lot in the jump off, so I knew I’d have to run and move. As I was going to the first jump, I was thinking I don’t want to use her too much because I want to jump her in the grand prix on Saturday.”
Things haven’t always been smooth sailing for this duo, however. “She’s a mare and she definitely has opinions and a lot of personality. For the first few months I had her, I didn’t even take her to a horse show. She was a little bit difficult in the mouth and cold off my leg – she just did everything her way and that was it. She wasn’t meeting in the middle, but it’s gotten so much better. I think her and I are finally on the same page – it’s taken a while.”
Last week’s Hagyard Classic winner, Darragh Kenny (IRL), claimed the second place finish, this time with Ann Thompson’s Balou Du Reventon. Kenny and the 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion challenged Kocher’s quick time, but just fell short as they completed a clear round in 43.31 seconds.
The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven show-jumping events held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington throughout the 2018 show season with the following four shows to include the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, the Kentucky Summer Classic, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and the KHJA Horse Show. The series will culminate during the Kentucky National Horse Show at the end of September, where the rider who accumulates the most points in the series will receive a $50,000 Leading Rider Award, presented upon completion of the seventh event, the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic.