Richie Moloney & Slieveanorra. Ph. ©Lenore Philips/Phelps Sports
The Kentucky Spring Classic kicked off its international competition at the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday, May 17, 2017 with the $35,000 Welcome Speed Stake CSI3*. The class tested 46 athletes over a single round speed course designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal. Ireland’s Richie Moloney came out on top with his longtime partner Slieveanorra after producing a clear round in a time of 61.88 seconds. Margie Engle and Bockmann’s Lazio completed the course 63.06 seconds to earn second place, while another Irish athlete, Shane Sweetnam closed out the top three spots on Cyklon 1083, crossing the timers at 63.53 seconds.
Moloney, who rides for Equinimity, LLC, went earlier in the class on the grey stallion, Button Sitte, in order to use the Welcome Stake as a warm up for the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix that will be the main event in the Rolex Stadium on Saturday evening.
“It definitely helped that I was later to go in the order on Slieveanorra because the first half was beatable but the second group started going five seconds quicker, so I knew that you needed to take every chance to go as quick as I could,” Moloney said.
When he entered the ring on Slieveanorra, he knew the pace it would take to win the class was becoming increasing hard to beat. Two rounds before Moloney, Olympian Engle had produced a lightening fast round on Bockmann’s Lazio, knocking the previous leader Sweetnam off the top of the board.
The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding has helped Moloney to multiple FEI wins in the six years that the pair have been competing together.”
“He is careful and you can gallop down to jumps and he tries to always get out of the way. He is just a real winner,” Moloney commented of his horse.
The Kentucky Spring Classic is the first show that Slieveanorra has competed in since finishing the winter season in Wellington, Florida. The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond) has helped Moloney to multiple FEI wins in the six years that the pair have been competing together. In 2016, Moloney won the $35,000 Shelby Drazan Foundation International Open Jumpers Welcome Speed CSI4* at the CP National Horse Show, held at the KHPs indoor Alltech Arena, near the Rolex Stadium where they competed today. More recently the pair won the $35,000 1.45m class during Week Ten of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Jumper action continues on Thursday at the Kentucky Spring Classic with the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. Scheduled to begin at 5:30pm, the highlight event is part of the Hagyard Challenge Series. The series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2017 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series.
Top 12 – $35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3*
1. Slieveanorra / Richie Moloney / Equinimity, LLC / 0 / 61.880
2. Bockman’s Lazio / Margie Engle / Gladewinds Partners, LLC / 0 / 63.060
3. Cyklon 1083 / Shane Sweetnam / Spy Coast Farm / 0 / 63.530
4. Basimodo / Eric Navet / Signe Ostby / 0 / 63.900
5. Hip Living / Santiago Lambre /Santiago Lambre / 0 / 64.060
6. Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / Seabrook, LLC / 0 / 64.590
7. VDL Aberlino / Samuel Parot / Samuel Parot / 0 / 65.84
8. Boo Van Het Kastanjehof / Andrew Welles / Peter Welles / 0 / 67.330
9. Warinde B / Lauren Hester / Hester Equestrian, LLC / 0 / 67.430
10. Victorio 5 / Adam Prudent / Plain Bay Stables / 0 / 68.550
11. Beorn / Alex Granato / Alliy Moyer / 0 / 68.750
12. Carlo / Aaron Vale / North Face Farm / 0 / 68.750