Pie in the Sky: Darragh Kenny Gets a CSI5* Win at Desert Holiday 2

Darragh Kenny (IRL) and California Pie

Darragh Kenny (IRL) was taken a bit by surprise when he ended up on top of Wednesday’s opening CSI5* class of Desert Holiday 2, presented by Visit Greater Palm Springs. Out of the 41 entries, he and California Pie, owned by Oakland Ventures, LLC, cruised to victory in the $76,000CAD CSI5* 1.50m Speed, sponsored by Granite Bay Farm.

“There were some really fast horses and riders behind me so I thought for sure somebody was going to catch me,” Kenny said, after going fourth in the starting order of go over Peter Grant’s single-round track. “My horse jumped great; there were one or two places I didn’t take as much risk but he jumped fantastic and stayed really good the whole way around. There were a lot of people faster, they just had one down.”

Specifically, there were six pairs who were faster than Kenny, but the most important factor was clear rounds, of which there were only nine. Erynn Ballard (CAN) found herself on a podium again, this time in second place aboard Gakhir, owned by Ilan Ferder. Amy Millar (CAN) and Truman, owned by Millar Brooke Farm & Overland, took third place.

“I was really happy,” Kenny said about his win Wednesday. “I was not expecting it at all but he jumped great. I thought I could go quick and try to stay smooth and it turned out that it paid off.”

California Pie is an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding (Captain Cooper x Ramiro’s Son) that has already taken top FEI placings with Kenny in the irons, but they had still been seeking their first FEI win together. “He has a big stride so I can do all the leave-outs easily,” Kenny said of where the natural speed came in. “I didn’t go crazy but I just went at a good speed, and if it held up great and if it didn’t then I was still going to be very happy with how he jumped.”

James Chawke Goes One-Two in $10,000 IDA Development Welcome Speed

James Chawke and One Edition Photo by High Desert Sport Photo 1
James Chawke and One Edition. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

It was a good evening in the office for James Chawke as he brought home first and second place in Wednesday’s $10,000 IDA Development 1.35m Welcome Speed. Having won the class several times during Desert Circuit 2023, Chawke is seasoned at the very class, which opens National show jumping each week.

This week, he brought forth two rides and placed them as high up as they both could go. Going early with Vanessa Mannix’s One Edition, he put in a time of 59.893 seconds, which was the fastest by about four seconds at the time. Though a few came close, only his other mount, Nacara Van Berkenbroeck Z, owned by Alison Locke, was quick enough to secure second, in 61.664 seconds, further proving just how fast his first ride was. Mariano Maggi and Gogolinus, owned by Brylee Dickey, claimed third.

“We bought her in April,” Chawke said of the newly-acquired 8-year-old mare (Tangelo Van de Zuuthoeve x Kannan). “She’s a bit green; she’d jumped maybe one 7-year-old class when we bought her and she came out of Sweden. Vanessa jumped her a bit this summer and then I just started riding her in October. I took her to Vegas and then here, so I’ll keep her for a little bit and then give her back to Vanessa.”

Press release Desert International Horse Park | Darragh Kenny (IRL) and California Pie. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

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