Richie Moloney Kicks Off Kentucky Spring Classic with $35,000 Welcome Stake Win

Richie Maloney, Welcome Speed

The Kentucky Spring Classic kicked off its international competition at the Kentucky Horse Park with the $35,000 Welcome Speed Stake CSI3*. The class tested 46 athletes over a single round speed course designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal. Ireland's Richie Moloney came out on top with his longtime partner Slieveanorra after producing a clear round in a time of 61.88 seconds. Margie Engle and Bocksmann's Lazio completed the course 63.06 seconds to earn second place, while another Irish athlete, Shane Sweetnam closed out the top three spots on Cyklon 1083, crossing the timers at 63.53 seconds. 

Moloney, who owns and operates Equinimity, LLC, went earlier in the class on a grey stallion, Button Sitte, who was using the Welcome Stake as a warm up for the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix that will be the main event in the Rolex Stadium on Saturday evening. When he entered the ring on Slieveanorra, he knew the pace it would take to win the class was becoming increasing hard to beat. Two rounds before Moloney, Olympian Margie Engle had produced a lightening fast round on Bockmann's Lazio, knocking the previous leader Shane Sweetnam off the top of the board. 

The Kentucky Spring Classic is the first show that Slieveanorra has competed in since finishing the winter season in Wellington, Florida. The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding has helped Moloney to multiple FEI wins in the six years that the pair have been competing together. In 2016, Moloney won the $35,000 Shelby Drazan Foundation International Open Jumpers Welcome Speed CSI4* at the CP National Horse Show, held at the Alltech Arena, just feet from Rolex Stadium where they competed today. More recently the pair won the $35,000 1.45m class during Week Ten of the Winter Equestrian Festival. 

Jumper action continues tomorrow at the Kentucky Spring Classic with the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. Scheduled to begin at 5:30pm, the highlight event is part of the Hagyard Challenge Series.  The series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2017 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series.

FROM THE WINNER'S CIRCLE
Richie Moloney
On Competing Two Horses:

"The first horse I was schooling because he is doing the Grand Prix on Saturday. It definitely helped that I was later to go in the order on Slieveanorra because the first half was beatable but the second group started going 5 seconds quicker, so I knew that you needed to take every chance to go as quick as I could."

On Slieveanorra:
"He is careful and you can gallop down to jumps and he tries to always get out of the way. He is just a real winner."

On Show at Kentucky Spring Classic:
"The Rolex Stadium is a lovely big ring and the show is very well organized with good jumps. The horses enjoy it here and I love that you can ride outside in the grass."

RESULTS
$35,000 Welcome Classic 1.45m CSI3*

Slieveanorra / Richie Moloney / Equinimity, LLC / 0 / 61.880
Bockman's Lazio / Margie Engle / Gladewinds Partners, LLC / 0 / 63.060
Cyklon 1083 / Shane Sweetnam / Spy Coast Farm / 0 / 63.530
Basimodo / Eric Navet / Signe Ostby / 0 / 63.900
Hip Living / Santiago Lambre /Santiago Lambre / 0 / 64.060
Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / Seabrook, LLC / 0 / 64.590
VDL Aberlino / Samuel Parot / Samuel Parot / 0 / 65.84
Boo Van Het Kastanjehof / Andrew Welles / Peter Welles / 0 / 67.330
Warinde B / Lauren Hester / Hester Equestrian, LLC / 0 / 67.430
Victorio 5 / Adam Prudent / Plain Bay Stables / 0 / 68.550
Beorn / Alex Granato / Alliy Moyer / 0 / 68.750
Carlo / Aaron Vale / North Face Farm / 0 / 68.750