Ireland's excellent results at the five-star London international horse show in Olympia continued on Friday night when Darragh Kenny won the Longines Christmas Cracker 1.55m jump-off class with his own and Ann Thompson's Classic Dream.
Four riders picked up a single time penalty apiece in round one with just eight of the 26 starters getting through to the jump-off where half of those again went clear. Two amazingly recorded the same time, 33.13 seconds, but the efforts of Britain's William Whitaker (RMF Echo) and Austria's Max Kühner (Cornet Kalua) were only good enough for joint-third.
The Netherlands’ Bart Bles comfortably beat that pair when home in 31.99 with Gin D but he was 1.27 seconds behind Co Offaly-born Kenny who stopped the clock on 30.82 with Classic Dream, a nine-year-old by Colestus who he intends jumping in Sunday’s Olympia Grand Prix.
“I’ve known for a couple of years that he was a proper Grand Prix horse,” said Kenny of the chestnut gelding on which he was third in the London leg of the Global Champions Tour in early August. “He’s still quite green, but he was exceptional in this jump-off, really picking up, and he’s a horse for the future.”
The feature competiton on Saturday at Olympia is the 1.65m Longines FEI Jumping World Cup class which gets underway at 2.30pm. With his own and Thompson's Romeo, Kenny is one of three Irish riders listed in the 38-strong field, the others being Waterford native Anthony Condon, who is first to jump with Thursday night's winner, his own and breeder Pat Hales's SFS Vincomte, and Co Louth-born Mark McAuley with SCEA Kalimba's Vivaldi du Theil.