Kent Farrington Wins Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule

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Podium of the Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule - Karl Cook / Kent Farrington / Grégory Wathelet
Podium of the Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule - Karl Cook / Kent Farrington / Grégory Wathelet

The Jumping International de La Baule, the second event of the Rolex Series, concluded with the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule, the highlight of this renowned international horse show.

At the end of an eleven-man jump-off, American rider Kent Farrington and his mare GREYA delivered the fastest of the four double clear rounds, edging out fellow American Karl Cook on CARACOLE DE LA ROQUE and Belgian Grégory Wathelet on BOND JAMESBOND DE HAY by mere thousandths of a second. The thrilling competition kept the audience on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating who would succeed Karl Cook and add their name to the Rolex Series winners’ list.

Under the blue skies of La Baule, fifty pairs representing fifteen nations began the Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule. Max Kühner, riding ELEKTRIC BLUE P, was the first to navigate the course designed by Grégory Bodo without fault. Ten other riders followed suit, advancing to a spectacular jump-off. Among the finalists were Karl Cook, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix of Roma, Steve Guerdat, the current European champion, and France’s Kevin Staut.

Max Kühner opened the jump-off with ELEKTRIC BLUE P, scoring 8 points. Karl Cook then posted the first double clear in 34.21 seconds on CARACOLE DE LA ROQUE, a mare previously ridden by Frenchman Julien Epaillard, currently ranked 4th in the world. However, Kent Farrington, riding immediately after Cook, stole the show with a clear round in 34.09 seconds on his 10-year-old mare GREYA. Neither Grégory Wathelet with BOND JAMESBOND DE HAY nor Pius Schwizer on SCARLINA DE TIJI Z, both also double clear, could surpass Farrington’s time.

Farrington, elated with his victory in the Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule, reflected on the competition: “I’m determined every day. Our sport has its ups and downs because horses are animals with their own rhythm and needs. That’s what makes our sport so beautiful. You go from hero to zero very quickly, and that’s the game. I try to stay focused and not think about what might have happened or what might happen. I hadn’t really looked at Karl’s course, and this allowed me to follow my plan and secure the victory.”

Xavier Trouilhet, assistant to the ringmaster Grégory Bodo, praised the event: “Bravo to the event team and Rolex for the exceptional quality of the venue and the show! In Grégory’s words, this competition is magical, and I agree with him. The scenario was ideal and so was the jump-off. The course was very fair and respectful of the horses. There were faults all over the place, but it was all about controlling the horse’s balance from start to finish. When they walked the course, a lot of riders talked to us and tried to understand his intent, which made a lot of them think in order to work out this course as best as they could, and that was the point!”

Pierre de Brissac, President of Jumping International de La Baule – Officiel de France, concluded with gratitude: “We are delighted that Rolex has joined our horse show. Thanks to them, the competition has grown even more. It’s incredible to have you with us and be part of the Rolex Series. It’s a great honor, and we’re very proud to be working with you on this project.”

The Jumping International de La Baule continues to be a premier event in the equestrian world, showcasing top talent and thrilling competition, and the Rolex Grand Prix remains a highlight in the international show jumping calendar.

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