East Dorset, Vermont — He may have been aboard a different horse, but the result was the same – another victory for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny. Kenny sprinted through the timers aboard Castletto to win the $10,000 Tumi Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Design Outlets, on Saturday, August 1, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Kenny’s record in the Welcome Stake is a perfect three for three. The victory marked Kenny’s third time winning the Welcome Stake at the Vermont Summer Festival in the three times he has entered the competition. In addition to winning every time he has entered the class, Kenny has, more often than not, placed all of his entered mounts in the top eight.
Not only was Saturday’s victory a winning effort for Kenny, but also for his trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run Stables of Warren, VT, who also coach Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ. Between the two riders and their mounts, the top five ribbons from Saturday’s competition are proudly hanging outside the stalls of North Run.
The course, designed by Jamie Alder of Collierville, TN, featured a multitude of tight corners and related distances that tested the horse and rider combinations. Only five horses, all ridden by Kenny and Dobbs, managed to pass the first-round test and advance to the jump-off.
Dobbs and Marlo were the first to attempt the jump-off course which featured tight turns and a long gallop with another tight turn immediately afterward. Marlo was faultless over the fences for Dobbs and crossed the timers in 30.88 seconds. They would finish in fourth place.
Kenny and Castletto were the next pair to challenge the jump-off and, after clearing the first four fences with tight turns, Kenny pushed for a much faster gallop to the triple. It all worked out for him as Castletto cleared the obstacle and then handily came back for the tight turn. Their final time of 28.33 seconds put them well in the lead.
Following right behind Kenny, Dobbs galloped into the ring on her next mount, Marengo, who is very fast over the ground. They were well on their way to beating Kenny’s time when Marengo tripped coming off fence four, costing them precious time. Their final time of 28.59 seconds was not fast enough to catch Kenny, but it did put Dobbs in second place.
Dobbs then posted another clear round, this time aboard Corlett. Dobbs has accumulated some of her most prestigious victories about Corlett, and to say that they know each other well is an understatement. It was a good thing that they are so familiar, as Dobbs had a slight mishap in the warm-up ring which resulted in her having to tape together the ring and pinkie fingers of her right hand. With only two fingers available to guide the mare, Dobbs still posted a clean round in a time of 31.85 seconds and placed fifth.
Kenny still had one more opportunity to beat his own time and bump Dobbs down the ranking and that was with Palona, a big grey mare that has already led the victory gallop on several occasions at this year’s Vermont Summer Festival. Although Palona, with her long grey tail, flew over every fence and twisted around the turns as Kenny pushed her for speed, it was not her day to win, and the pair crossed the timers in 28.70 seconds for third place.
After they dismounted, Dobbs jokingly asked Kenny if he wanted to go on a Saturday night ‘hospital date’, she with a possibly broken pinkie finger and Kenny with a swollen forearm as the result of a bug bite.
“He is lucky that Marengo tripped,” said Dobbs.
“Yeah, that was brilliant,” laughed Kenny.
With the top five placings divided between Kenny and Dobbs, sixth place went to Linda Sheridan aboard Newsprint Farm’s Invitational, one of three siblings that Sheridan rode in the class. All three of Sheridan’s mounts are by the jumping stallion Olisco and out of a full sister to Gem Twist.
The most heated competition began after the prizes had been awarded. For his victory, Kenny was awarded his share of the prize money as well as two pieces of luggage from presenting sponsor, Tumi. The luggage got a lot of attention and Missy Clark tried to coax the pieces away from Kenny. She succeeded in her goal, not a surprise to anyone who knows Clark, and walked away with one of the bags clutched firmly to her side.
Tumi takes its name from a Peruvian god, and the company holds more than 25 patents for its design and engineering breakthroughs. In addition, Tumi has been consistently recognized by leading consumer publications as “the best” product in travel and business categories.
What better prize for a well-traveled equestrian athlete?
A scheduling change will see Sunday’s featured event, the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix, Presented by the Inn At Willow Pond, take place at 12 noon on Sunday, August 2. Special guest, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, will be in attendance to present the ribbons and prizes to the horse show’s smallest competitors, the leadline contestants, during the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix.
Running through to August 9, 2009, the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, as well as the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont, offering more than $750,000 in prize money. Visit our website for more information on the 2009 Vermont Summer Festival, e-mail or call (802) 362-9023.
$10,000 TUMI Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
|2||Hillary Dobbs||Sussex, NJ||Marengo||0:0||28.596|
|4||Hillary Dobbs||Sussex, NJ||Marlo||0:0||30.886|
|5||Hillary Dobbs||Sussex, NJ||Corlett||0:0||31.859|
|6||Linda Sheridan||Ringoes, NJ||Invitational||4||67.461|
|7||Paige Rasses||Wellington, FL||Kairos||4||69.128|
|8||Kevin Babbington||Ireland||Capone 21||4||70.559|