DARRAGH Kenny and Jordan Coyle both won five-star classes at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, California, last weekend, while Limerick’s Paul O’Shea and Down’s Conor Swail were part of the Eye Candy team that took victory in the Major League Show Jumping team competition.

Kenny took the top spot in Friday’s $72,200 Whittier Trust 1.50m with Teddy Vlock’s Volnay Du Boisdeville. He was the quickest of 12 jump-off competitors who jumped clear over Michel Vaillancourt’s first-round track.

With a jump-off time of 35.50 seconds, he beat compatriot Conor Swail into second place with Theo 160, owned by Team Phillippaerts, and USA’s Bliss Heers with Antidote De Mars, who took third.

“My horse felt very good in the warm-up. He was jumping great. Conor was very quick as always and I wanted to try to be as quick as I possibly could without rushing him too much. Conor did one more to the last than me so I thought if I could take one less to the last that would be faster, and it worked out,” Kenny said afterwards.

Kenny continues to build up the relationship with Volnay Du Boisdeville who was originally bought for his owner to ride. “We actually bought him for Teddy to ride. He had great success with Teddy for three years; he jumped him on the Nations Cup team at [the Palm Beach Masters] and jumped a few five-star Grands Prix with him.

“I took over towards the end of last year and he’s been amazing. He won a four-star Grand Prix in Wellington, second in the five-star Grand Prix in Monaco, and he’s been an incredible horse so I’m very lucky to have him. For a stallion he’s so quiet, easy, and mannerly. He’s just a lovely horse.”

Coyle on top

Back in the desert for the first time since winning his first ever five-star Grand Prix at the venue, Derry’s Jordan Coyle dominated Friday’s $9,000 Antares CSI5* 1.45m Speed, taking first and third on Picador and Centriko Volo, respectively.

He held an early lead with Celtic Park’s Centriko Volo, just the third pair to jump Vaillancourt’s course. Brazil’s Cassio Rivetti overtook his time with Nadale Van Dorperheide when there were only two left to go, but Coyle was one of those, aboard Elan Farm’s Picador, and he duly delivered an even faster time in 68.58 seconds.

“You’d imagine he’d be slowing down, but he still feels great and he loves his job,” Coyle said of his longtime partner, the 15-year-old Picador. “The more jumping he gets, the better he is. He never sees a show jump at home; we just do cross-country stuff. I really enjoy it and I think he enjoys it also. Some of the jumps are quite big and we go quite fast.”

Paul O’Shea and Conor Swail were part of the Eye Candy team that took victory in the Major League Show Jumping team competition. It was the team’s third win of the season and now puts them just three points behind the leaders heading into the final.

O’Shea was forced to jump-off for victory against USA’s Natalie Dean riding for Lugano Diamonds; he rode Squirt Gun to the fastest clear in 42.65 seconds.