Wellington, Florida, USA – March 10, 2022 – The $75,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round IX CSI 5* was the main event in the International Arena on Thursday, March 10, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Week 9 of the 13-week series is presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate and is the third of four weeks to host international competition at the five-star level. WEF 9 also offers two-star level international classes, sponsored by Corro and a variety of nationally-rated hunter, jumper, and equitation events. U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) put forth the winning jump-off round on Orafina.
A total of 52 elite international competitors representing 16 nations contested Alan Wade’s (IRL) first round. Wade designed a difficult track and by the class’s halfway mark only five entries were set to return for the jump-off. The course, which included both a double and a triple combination, kept 15 riders from jump-off contention with the fault of a single fence but also tripped up an additional five competitors with the tight time allotted of 73 seconds.
As the final fences were set for the shortened course, 10 combinations had qualified to return but only nine found their way back to the arena as Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and James Kann Cruz elected to save their jumps. Always one to watch out for in a jump-off class, Farrington was the first to qualify for the class and therefore the first to return with his own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (For Fashion x Canturo). As he has done many times before, Farrington made it look easy as the pair cleared the final timers fault-free with a fast time of 33.41 seconds.
“I’m really proud of this horse,” noted Farrington. “She is one that I have been bringing along for the past two seasons. I really like to utilize the Florida circuit as a training grounds for my younger horses, and she has truly stepped up this season.”
Evidence of Orafina’s growth includes second place in the $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI 3* during WEF 1 and jumping in her first five-star grand prix during Week 4’s $406,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5*.
“I thought she was great in her first grand prix of this level, and she came back out today at the five-star level and performed better than I expected,” added Farrington. “It is a long season so I try to build her up so she gets used to the environment of being under the lights and jumping at the highest level, and then I drop her back down and do some smaller classes to work on her rideability and control. I think moving up and down between the levels is the best way to produce an upcoming horse here.”
Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) produced the second clear of the course aboard his own 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Malibu de Muze (Nabab De Reve x Tornedo FCS). Landing just a fraction slower than Farrington with a time of 33.68 seconds, Moya settled for second-place honors.
Belgium’s Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Eurhorse BVBA’s Luciano van het Geinsteinde once again pinned in the top three for the class as they rounded out the victory gallop with a final time of 34.28 seconds. Verlooy and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Quinn Van De Heffinck x Air Jordan) have been in top form and were the winning combination in this class during WEF 8.
Final Results – $75,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round IX CSI 5*
1) Kent Farrington (USA) & Orafina – 0 / 0 – 33.41
2) Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) & Malibu de Muze – 0 / 0 – 33.68
3) Jos Verlooy (BEL) & Luciano van het Geinsteinde – 0 / 0 – 34.28
Source: Press Release by Summer Grace and Amanda Picciotto Feitosa / Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot