Wellington, FL – December 20, 2020 – The $25,000 New Year’s Grand Prix, presented by Vita Flex, took place on Sunday, December 20, the final day of the ESP New Year’s Show at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Forty-one entries hailing from 12 nations competed for the lion’s share of the prize money over the course designed by Mauricio Garcia Ballesteros (PUR). After a 13-horse jump-off, Darragh Kenny (IRL) continued his winning streak at PBIEC as the fastest of the class riding Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Scarlett Du Sart Z. Sunday’s classes concluded the ESP New Year’s Show, and competition will resume again Wednesday, December 30, for the first day of the ESP Holiday Finale Show, which will finish on Sunday, January 3, as the final event in the ESP Holiday Series. The 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival will take place from January 6, 2021 to April 4, 2021.
“I’ve had Scarlett Du Sart Z since she was six-turning-seven. Teddy Vlock owns her; he bought her as a six-year-old and we’ve been producing her and bringing her along the whole time,” Kenny said of the 13-year-old Zangersheide mare by Stakkato De Hann x First Bride. “I think a lot of her. She’s a very, very good grand prix horse. She didn’t do much this summer, and I wanted to get her fit and ready in the fall for the bigger shows after Christmas.”
For the first round of riding, Garcia Ballesteros created a pattern of 13 fences, which was successfully completed by 13 pairs who advanced to the jump-off. The first two entries, Chris Ewanouski (USA) aboard Vagabon De La Vallee, owned by Ewanouski and Cavalli Reale, and Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Van Gogh, owned by Wilhelm and Patty Genn, both produced fault-free rounds to start the class. Ewanouski and Genn were joined in the jump-off by Kenny, Grace Debney (USA), Tiffany Foster (CAN), Taylor St. Jacques (USA), Natalie Dean (USA), Spencer Brittan (USA), Christian Coyle (IRL), Hilary McNerney (USA), Liza Finsness (USA), and Emily Ward (GBR).
Of the 13 riders that advanced to the seven-fence jump-off, seven riders continued to put in a second clear round. The first horse-and-rider combination to go clear was Genn and Van Gogh with a time of 42.13 seconds to set the pace. Foster and Artisan Farms, LLC’s Vienna then took the lead after stopping the timers at 39.19 seconds, slicing three full seconds off the clock. Kenny and Scarlett Du Sart Z were the seventh pair to return over the short course, where they took the lead and held onto it with a foot-perfect round in 39.04 seconds.
“I know she has a massive stride, and she’s very, very careful. I knew I could take a lot of risks with her, so I took one less stride in the first line, and I knew the last line would be easy for me to do the eight strides,” Kenny commented regarding his plan for the jump-off. “She’s just such a good horse that it’s easy to go fast with her. I think that she has such a big stride and she’s so quick across the ground, so I think that’s where I got [the advantage] today.”
Mere milliseconds behind Kenny, Debney rode Temple Equestrian LLC’s Zarina De Vidau, a 2011 Spanish Sport Horse mare by Diamant de Semilly, to a time of 39.07 seconds a few trips after the winning pair to claim second place. Third place honors went to Foster and Vienna (Valentino x Lordanos) with their time of 39.19 seconds.
Kenny has had a successful ESP Holiday Series circuit, having earned multiple wins on several horses. During the ESP Year End Awards Show, Kenny rode Oakland Ventures LLC’s Belo Horizonte to victory in the $25,000 Year End National Grand Prix, presented by #1 Education Place, as well as the $10,000 1.40m Open Stake, presented by #1 Education Place. Additionally, the Irish rider and Belo Horizonte also took home the blue ribbon in the $37,000 JTWG, Inc. 1.45m CSI4* during the ESP Holiday II CSI4* show.
At the onset of the ESP New Year’s Show, Delaney Flynn (USA) and Milan IV, owned by Grace Jacobsen, set the pace to take home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 1.40m Open Stake, presented by Score At The Top. Thirty-four competitors contested the first-round course with eight horse-and-rider pairs continuing on to the jump-off. Of those eight competitors, three duos completed the second course fault-free. In a leading clear time of 33.02 seconds, Flynn and Milan IV successfully conquered the course and the rest of the field to win the top prize. Just milliseconds off the winners’ time, Darragh Kenny (IRL) nabbed second place riding Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Albert K in a fault-free time of 33.06 seconds, and Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Corner Pocket Z, owned by The Z Group, earned third place in a clear 33.22 seconds.
Competition wrapped up in the International Arena on Saturday with the completion of the $5,000 1.35m Classic, sponsored by CCTV Agent. Nine riders successfully cleared the first course to qualify for the jump-off, which featured a trimmed down track of six fences, with Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Trelawny Farm, LLC’s Cherokee eventually pulling ahead as they stopped the timers at 33.39 seconds to win the class. Following closely behind O’Shea, Vanessa Hood (USA) and Fairytale 86, owned by Take Two LLC, earned second place with a time of 33.81 seconds, and Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Ilan Ferder’s Nanini Van D’Abelendreef claimed third position after a fault-free round in 34.00 seconds flat.
The final day of the ESP New Year’s show began with the $2,500 High Junior/Amateur Classic, presented by Equiline. Alexandra Pielet of Highland Park, IL, and Hyperbolics, owned by Co-Pielet LLC, beat a field of 31 entries to take home the blue ribbon. After 11 riders put in fault-free rounds to move on to the jump-off, Pielet and Hyperbolics stopped the clock at a leading time of 28.67 seconds. The second fastest fault-free round was ridden by Maggie Kehring of Woodside, CA, on her own horse West Side River in a time of 30.83 seconds. A Far Hills, NJ, resident, Hunter Champey and MDHT Equestrian LLC’s Caprice took home third place after stopping the timers at 31.06 seconds.
The $2,500 Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Equiline, took place on Sunday afternoon in the International Arena, with Dakota Champey of Far Hills, NJ, and Spaetzuender earning the top prize. Nineteen of the 53 riders who entered the class went clear in the first round and continued on to the jump-off. Champey and Redfield Farm’s Spaetzuender produced a time of 30.09 seconds to win the class. Second-place honors went to Brianne Link of East Islip, NY, on her own Dobalia with a fault-free round in 31.49 seconds. A Wellington, FL, resident, Ansgar Holtgers Jr., and Gut Einhaus LLC’s Charmeur stopped the timers at 31.99 seconds to finish in third place.
For the full results of the $25,000 New Year’s Grand Prix, presented by Vita Flex, please click HERE.
The prize list for the six shows that make up the 2020 ESP Holiday Series can be found HERE.
No spectators or outside media are allowed on-site at this time, but friends and family can view all classes via our SGL live stream HERE.
To learn more about the safety protocols and procedures at the horse show, please click HERE.
Photo credit ©Anne Gittins Photography and ©ESP. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.