Kevin Babington Dominates Commonwealth National at HITS Culpeper
RELEASE: April 23, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: HITS E-News
Kevin Babington and Shorapur on their way to the top in the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis (©ESI Photography)
- Nothing could stop Kevin Babington at the Commonwealth National in Culpeper, Virginia this weekend. He kicked off a win streak with a blue ribbon on Friday in the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix with his 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Mark Q before piloting Shorapur, LLC’s Shorapur to the top spot in the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis on Sunday.
Babington was one of nine to advance to the jump-off over a course designed by Danny foster of Milton, Ontario. The first round course offered 14 obstacles and 17 jumping effort, including a double and triple combination.
“When I walked the course I never thought that we would have that many clear, but it turned out to be just right,” said Babington. “There were rails down everywhere, which is always the sign of a good design – it was technical enough for the experienced horses, but not too much for the young ones.”
From an original field of 24, Babington went last and capped the jump-off after eight had gone clear before him. The lead changed three times in the jump-off with Thaisa Erwin setting the Great American Time to Beat at 49.98 seconds from the second spot aboard her own Matilda. Three trips later, Frances Land of Alpharetta, Georgia jumped her own Vieanne to a time of 41.91 seconds, to sit first. Jaclyn Duff of Edmonton, Alberta was clear with her own Stakkarus, but her time of 46.57 seconds was nearly five seconds off the lead.
Babington returned last with nothing, other than the clock, standing between him and the win. After a blistering time of 40.29 seconds, Babington and his nine-year-old Hanoverian mare took the blue. Land finished second, Duff third and Erwin fourth. Leann Kelly of Valatie, New York capped the top five as the fastest of the four-fault rides in the irons of Honorway Farm, LLC’s Leander.
Despite Shorapur coming to Babington as a sale horse, he knew the mare had talent from the very beginning. “She is the best horse I have ever had and I made room for her to stay with me and now compete her myself,” he said. “I have really high expectations for her.”
Of those expectations, the most notable include competing in Europe next year, World Cup Finals and hopefully carrying Babington to the Olympic Team for his native Ireland.