Keep Me With You N.C. and Dermott Lennon Forge Successful Partnership in $24,500 Horseflight Jumper Classic

Feb. 18, 2024 – Ocala, FL – Dermott Lennon’s catch ride on Keep Me With You N.C. proved to be a good start to the partnership as the pair took top call in the $24,500 Horseflight Jumper Classic. The feature event was one of many classics held throughout the final day of the fifth week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. The ten-week circuit hit its halfway mark with fantastic turnout in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings as well as the arrival of some new competition such as Lennon himself. 

Philipp Schwender (GER) built one more tactical course on Sunday which saw 23 horse-and-rider combinations prepare to rise to the occasion. With a tight time allowed or difficulty at only a single obstacle for most riders, the class’s completion advanced only four entries into the jump off. Lennon was fresh off a flight from Ireland that landed Friday evening, and hadn’t yet sat on the Falkirk Farms LLC’s nine-year-old KWPN mare, but he didn’t let that stop him from winning. 

“I ride many different horses in a day usually, and if it's a good jumper, it's just very easy,” he said. “I warm up and feel what the horse likes or doesn't like, and then I  try to go towards what it likes.”

While the ever-changing Florida weather deterred a number of entries from the challenge on Sunday, for Lennon it was like any other day.

“I’m from Ireland, and we get a bit of rain most days so this is very normal for me,” he laughed. “I thought the course was challenging but this horse jumped it excellent; he is very careful and I am glad to have had the ride on him.” 

Andre Thieme piloted his own 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Chap 47), DSP Chakaria, just off the pace but into second place with a time of 39.08 seconds. With the fastest time but a heartbreaking rail in the afternoon’s jump off, Madison Kondracki posted a time of 35.62 seconds aboard her 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Numero Uno), Onyx, for third. 

Classic competition marched onward throughout the course of the day, first kicking off with the $5,000 Pyranha 1.25m Junior/Amateur Classic where Kondracki put in her best performance of the day with her nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (For Romance), Pure for Romance, and found herself leading the victory gallop.

Thirteen pairings raced against the clock in the $7,500 Signature Brands 1.35m Junior/Amateur Classic, but it was Emily Clee and her 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Vigo D’Arsouilles), S&L Valentino de Nine Z, that produced the fastest of only two double-clear efforts for the win.

As the final classic to be held in the Grand Prix ring prior to the main event, the $7,500 Premier Sotheby’s 1.45m Junior/Amateur Classic celebrated a win for Ella Witt and Whistlejacket LLC’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Emerald), SVS Sensation. 

The sixth week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will resume on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. For a full list of results, please visit www.showmanagementsystem.com.