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Farrington’s Revenge is a Dish Best Served in La Baule

@Sportfot for Rolex Series

“I’ve been second here before, so I wanted some good revenge,” said Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington.

On a balmy Sunday in La Baule-Escoublac, France, the current world number seven was betting on his 10-year-old mare Greya to secure the CSIO5* 1.60m Rolex Grand Prix de La Baule. Having yet to break her international win maiden, Greya was indeed the dark horse in the field. Albeit, gleaming with a generous helping of purple shampoo.

Over the second round of the Gregory Bodo (FRA) designed course, Farrington’s compatriot Karl Cook (USA) put down a blistering time of 34.21 seconds with his superstar 12-year-old mare, Caracole de La Roque. With a 5* Grand Prix win just two weeks ago in Rome at the Piazza di Siena, they entered the ring on a hot streak and countered with experience.

What Farrington did have was the advantage of riding second, and the opportunity to tidy the lines and the strides Cook laid down. However, he didn’t even look. Farrington already had enough confidence in his own winning strategy.

“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,” said Farrington.

The plan included adding more leg than Greya was used to, but for Farrington there is no time like the present to test out a new gear. That speed clocked at 34.09 seconds, which pushed Cook into second.

Of the other nine combinations to try the shortened track, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) came the closest to Farrington and Cook with 37.79 seconds, still quite a distance off (3.58 seconds) but enough to secure third.

“I am still at the stage where I’m thrilled with how my horse is going. She is still learning and today was a great step forward in our process. I have never asked her to go at that speed before, and she answered great,” said Farrington, who has had Greya in his stable since she was just five-years-old.

“I developed her slowly.”

Perhaps he brought her up slowly, but she’s certainly caught up fast, recording not only her first international win, but first 5* Grand Prix win. Over 17 rounds at the 1.60m height, Greya finishes in the top 10 at a spectacular 71% clip (Jumpr Stats). The moment isn’t lost on Farrington, no matter how many titles he takes.

“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,” said Farrington.

A realist with a dreamer’s show record, one might wonder if he’s added Greya to his list of potential Paris Olympic partners. Of course, we’ll have to keep watching, and guessing.

“I let the horses develop and then see. I don’t like to think about that stuff too far away, we keep going,” said Farrington.

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