Kent Farrington wins inaugural Stephex Masters Grand Prix aboard Willow
As the last to go in a four-horse jump-off, Kent Farrington won the Stephex Masters Grand Prix aboard Willow (Guidam x Little Rock). It was a determined Farrington that went to work, after being second on the same horse in Friday's big class – losing out on a brand new Land Rover. This time around it was clear that the American rider wanted to make it to the top – and so he did. A great performance from Lauren Hough secured double American on top at Stephex Stables in Wolvertem, Belgium.
For a long time it looked like Uliano Vezzani's thirteen fence track would get the better of the riders, not to forget the very tight time allowed that played a crucial part. The latter made many of the riders chase the clock, picking up faults on the way, as the fences fell at the expense of making it to the finish line within the time. Faults spread out, but many got in trouble out of the triple – on the b-element (vertical) or the c-element (oxer). The final line with a huge oxer followed by five strides to a skinny bicycle gate also caused heartache for many.
Riding Amalaya Investments Willow, Farrington showed he was serious about winning. Leaving out a stride on both the first line, and on the penultimate line as well as getting a perfect turn to the third oxer – the time was incredible at 32.76 seconds. With his performance, Kent pushed Lauren down to second. The three top riders all received a STX two-horse truck.