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It was all about risk in the exciting $10,000 Gambler’s Choice class, but it paid off for Darragh Kenny and TOP GUN IV, and they took first place at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
In this top score competition, each obstacle was allotted a number of points according to difficulty, and competitors accrued points based on which obstacles they jumped as long as it was jumped clear – no points were awarded for an obstacle knocked down. Competitors could jump all the fences in order of their choice and in the direction that they chose within the allowed time.
However, the second round is when the ante went up and the gamble began. The riders then had two choices. The first choice was to jump the Joker fence worth 200 points which was added to their score OR subtracted if it came down. The second choice was to risk it all by jumping the ‘All In’ fence which at 5’4″ was the highest on the course, and worth ‘double or nothing’.
The pressure mounted with each competitor, but it was Kenny who kept his cool and maximized the amount of jumps he could get in the first round. TOP GUN IV made the ‘All In’ bonus fence look easy to earn a whopping 2020 points, claiming the $3,000 first prize.
“I had an attempted plan which worked out great up until I ran out of my plan”, joked Kenny. “I jumped all the jumps inside my plan, and then I was left with time so I kind of just winged it. I jumped three or four more jumps than I planned to jump”.
McLain Ward and WINGS had a flying round and were the ones to catch for most of the competition after scoring 1960 points, but were edged out by Kenny and they finished in second place.
Of the twelve starters, four played the ‘Joker’ and eight went ‘All In’, but unfortunately the gamble did not pay off for three.
In the $5,000 Open Jumper Speed III class, where faults are converted into seconds, it was McLain Ward and WINGS that claimed first place with a time of 59.046. Second place went to Brianne Goutal and UATA with 62.234 seconds.
Jordan MacPherson and PICCOBELLO DUVALDE GEER took the top spot in the $7,500 Open Jumper II, 2a, producing two clear rounds and a jump-off time of 38.627 seconds. Lauren Tisbo and DARCON SCHEEFKASTEEL Z also produced two clears, but had a slightly slower jump-off round, crossing the timers in 39.704 seconds.
Source: Pennsylvania National Horse Show