WELLINGTON, Fla.--U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington has an up-and-coming mare in Toulayna, who won the $226,000 CSI4* Grand Prix on ‘Saturday Night Lights’, March 18.
In the biggest test of her career to date, the 9-year-old Zangersheide mare was the fastest in the jump-off over Andy Christiansen Jr.'s course for her first grand prix win.
Nine horses advanced to the jump-off where the lead changed five times.
“This is definitely the biggest track she’s jumped,” said Farrington of the mare that was also third in the CSI4* Grand Prix during WEF 3. “I have high hopes for this horse. She’s fast, careful and everything I like in a show jumper.”
Farrington’s Tokyo teammate Jessica Springsteen set the pace as the first clear round aboard her Olympic mount Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, finishing in 39.58 seconds , but she was soon beaten by Lillie Keenan on Agana van het Gerendal Z in 39.10 seconds.
IRELAND'S Darragh Kenny on Amsterdam 27 then went into the lead, stopping the clock at 38.94 seconds, before Nicole Shahinian-Simpson took over in 37.94 seconds.
Farrington then did just enough for the win by stopping the timers at 37.38 seconds.
“I’m very confident on this horse and that’s the way I like to do it; get them when they are young and produce them myself so I know them quite well,” said Farrington, who has had Toulayna since she was 7. “Even if they are green stepping up to this level, I know where I can take a shot."
“Toulayna is extremely sharp and I was very quick to the verticals,” said Farrington of his jump-off round. “Taking a run down to that single is probably where I made up some time. She has a big stride, but I wasn’t sure if I could get eight strides to the last jump. She jumped so strong out of the double, it was easy.”
“She’s a very high strung horse with a lot of blood and very sharp, but I try to keep the horses fresh and interested in the job because it’s a long season here," said Farrington. "She’s done four weeks this season, and I think that’s plenty. We will hit the trails now and just chill out.”
Shahinian-Simpson finished second on Akuna Mattata, and. Kenny was third with Keenan and Springsteen fourth and fifth.
A third member of the U.S. team from the Tokyo Olympic games, Laura Kraut, had the time beaten but had a rail at the final fence of the jump-off to place sixth.