Show jumping took centerstage Thursday, October 29 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, 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. Earlier in the afternoon, the EquiJet $5,000 Junior Jumper’s swiftest trip came from Zayna Rizvi and North Run’s Quivive S Z. Turning in the quickest jump-off round ahead of a tight race, Julia Weiss and her own Dior topped the leaderboard in the $5,000 Amateur-Owner Jumpers to kick off their event on a high note.
Kent Farrington on Creedance in their presentation ceremony. Photo by Emma Miller/Phelps Media Group.
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.
Alex Granato on Carlchen W. Photo by Elaine Wessel/Phelps Media Group.
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.
Show jumping will continue for two more days at the 2020 National Horse Show. Friday will feature $10,000 classes for juniors and amateurs, as well as the T & R Development $36,600 International Speed Class CSI4*. Saturday will serve as the premiere day of the show, when it hosts the $25,000 SJHF Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix and $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix CSI4*.