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23/07/2021

Darragh Kenny – Years of progress has earned Offaly man Olympics place

Darragh Kenny – Years of progress has earned Offaly man Olympics place

Darragh Kenny

DARRAGH Kenny has been one of Ireland's top shpow jumpers for several years and he is the highest ranked of the Irish team going to Tokyo.

The Belmont man is now ranked eight in the world and he has been a multiple prize winner on the Irish, European and American circuits.

His career really took off after he won a training bursary to work at the North Run Stables in Warren, Vermont, USA in 2007. He benefitted here from top class coaching under Missy Clark and John Brennan and from riding some really top class horses.

His progress was immediate and significant and he was soon competing in the FEI World Cup finals while he represented Ireland at the highest international level.

This is the first time in fifteen years that the Irish show jumping team have qualified for the Olympics. The Irish team qualified with a brilliant victory in the €1.25 Million Longines FEI Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona.

The team of Peter Moloney, Paul O’Shea, Darragh Kenny and Cian O’Connor had just one time fault as they won to book their place in Tokyo, Kenny was on Ann Thompson's Balou du Reventon  and he had a clear round.

Kenny said afterwards: “I knew going in the ring that it was a very, very important round for us and I knew we had a great chance of getting the ticket done with that round so I was a bit nervous going in the ring but I am very lucky that I have an incredible horse, he is absolutely amazing. He tries so hard all the time. On Thursday he jumped amazing and today I was just trying to make sure that I left all the jumps up.”

33 years of age, Kenny has enjoyed a very successful show jumping career and he was a member of the Irish team that won the Nations Cup event in Dublin in 2015. He has been competing in show jumping since he was ten years of age, he rode in his first Grand Prix at fourteen years of age and competed in the Dublin Horse Show for the first time in 2007 at 19 years of age. He has regularly been ranked in the top ten riders in the world.

In 2012, Kenny embarked on a major enterprise when he founded the Oakland Ventures LLC. The Oaklands website states: “Based out of Wellington, Florida and Meijel, Netherlands; Oakland Stables was originally formed by Irish show jumping athlete Darragh Kenny in 2012. The team at Oakland Stables top results, combined with their development and sales of high-performance horses along with their elite training program, has elevated the Oakland Stables brand internationally. The entire team at Oakland Stables is dedicated to maintaining the Oakland brand across the globe. Each member has a lifetime of experience in the equestrian industry, bringing the highest level of care, training, and knowledge to Oakland Stables.”

While Belmont would be noted as very much GAA territory, Kenny's path always went in a different direction and horses were in his blood. His parents were both trainers and Kenny soon developed into a top class rider. This continued at North Run Farm.

The following profile of Kenny is on the Oaklands website:

“With the help of Clark, Kenny acquired the ride on Obelix, a horse that guided him to the top level of the sport. In 2009, the pair captured the $100,000 Budweiser FEI World Cup™ Qualifier of Syracuse CSI4*-W, followed by another victory in the $100,000 World Cup™ Qualifier CSI2*-W as well as third-place finishes in the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier CSI4*-W in 2010.

“Over the next few years, Kenny continued his steady and impressive climb with top placings in prestigious grand prix classes up and down the East Coast. In September 2012, Kenny made the difficult decision to leave North Run Farm and form his own Oakland Ventures, LLC.

“Since its inception, Oakland Stables has become one of the most successful competition barns, offering high-performance sales horses and an elite training program with bases in Wellington, Florida and Meijel, Netherlands.

“Kenny represented Ireland in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France, where he placed twelfth individually aboard his first championship mount, Imothep. From there, Kenny captured a monumental victory as a member of the Irish show jumping team, winning the Aga Khan Trophy and the 2015 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping CSIO5* with Sans Soucis Z on home turf at the Dublin Horse Show.

In recent years, Kenny has continued to produce exceptional results internationally and on the Longines Global Champions Tour. He boasts an impressive resume of countless accolades with two prestigious 5* grand prix wins in the summer of 2019, which include the LGCT Grand Prix of Chantilly and the €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix in Knokke Hippique aboard Balou du Reventon.

“Kenny helped to earn Olympic qualification for Ireland after jumping double-clear with Balou du Reventon to win team gold in the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final at CSIO Barcelona. He concluded a successful 2019 with impressive runner-up positions in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Verona CSI5*-W and the IJRC Rolex Top 10 Final aboard Romeo 88 while also finishing second in the €1.25 Million Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix Final with Balou du Reventon.

“2020 saw a strong start for Kenny, welcoming several new additions to his string and capturing countless wins throughout the Winter Equestrian Festival, where he earned the final grand prix victory in the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* with Scarlett du Sart Z. Highlighting the season, Kenny rode Classic Dream to victory in the $213,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington CSI4*-W at the Palm Beach Masters. He currently sits at number 8 on the Longines FEI World Rankings as the highest ranked Irish show jumping athlete with a current string of top mounts including Belo Horizonte, Chic Chic, Carthano, Cicomein VDL, Great-Tikila J, and Scarlett du Sart Z.”

SEE MORE FROM OUR OLYMPICS PREVIEW BELOW:

The Olympics Games is the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will feature a record 33 competitions and 339 events held across 42 competition venues. 

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