Ireland’s David Blake claims third place finish in Lexington Longines FEI World Cup
- 3 November 2019, 12:17
A superb performance in the early hours of this morning (Sunday) from Co Clare’s David Blake, saw him claim a hugely impressive third place finish in the $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Grand Prix at Lexington in Kentucky, USA, which boosts his chances of making it through to the 2020 World Cup Final.
The competition attracted riders from 11 different countries to the Alltech Arena at Kentucky Horse Park, with a high-class field that included many of the world’s top-ranked athletes. Riding the Pine Hollow Farm-owned 10-year-old gelding Keoki, Blake was one of eight riders who jumped clear in the first round to make it into the jump-off. The pair have produced several double clear rounds at the top level over the last few months, including the recent five-star Grand Prix in Tryon, and they continued that impressive run with another flawless performance in Lexington.
A clear round against the clock in 36.87 seconds would see them take third place at the finish and collect almost $34,000. The winners prize went to 18-year-old Brian Moggre (USA) with MTM Vivre Le Reve (34.22) just ahead of Karen Polle (JPN) in second with Kino (34.44).
Speaking about his plan for the course, David Blake said:
“Walking in we knew it was going to be tough because of the amount of clears that there were in the qualifier, so it was a great course tonight. The turn to fence four was very unusual I thought. It was my first indoor show on that horse so it was quite unusual to turn into the wall and that caused a lot of damage for people. The course seemed to suit bigger horses with stretchy distances, so I was happy with how it all walked because my guy has a big step so it was all as I walked.”
“It is my first indoor in the USA and his first indoor ever so I didn’t fancy that the atmosphere was big enough when we went in because Karen was right before and she was clear so that got him on his toes a little bit. I really enjoyed it. I would like to thank the sponsors and the organizers, because I just got in on the last minute so it was worth the trip,” Blake concluded.
Derry’s Daniel Coyle was named Leading International Rider of the show and was presented with a one-year lease of an Audi Q7 from Audi of Lexington.
Over the course of the week in Lexington, the “Bid for Kevin” fundraiser allowed for the equestrian community to participate in raising funds to benefit Irish rider Kevin Babington in his recovery from serious injuries sustained in a fall in September. Individuals were able to bid on riders competing in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup for a chance to win lessons with some of the sport’s greatest athletes. Whoever “bought” the victorious rider – in this case, Moggre – received five private lessons with Beezie Madden, Shane Sweetnam, Kent Farrington, McLain Ward and Margie Engle. Surpassing the goal of $75,000, the funds raised amounted to an incredible $87,245.