Keean As Rider Takes Young Rider Crown

4 Mar

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Keean As Rider Takes Young Rider Crown


Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) jumped the round of his life aboard Amarula MVNZ to head home a very strong field to take the Dunstan Horse Feeds Young Rider of the Year crown.

The 16-year-old was the only one of 29 to go clear over the Werner Deeg (GER) designed course.

“My goal at the beginning of the season was to just get around a junior rider course . . . this is incredible,” said Cooper. “I have never jumped anything that big in my life. I was just so nervous . . . I never expected to win. This means everything to me – it is beyond a dream.”

Keean Cooper rides Amarula MVNZ in the Young Rider of the Year, Friday, March 4, 2016. Credit: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

He has had Amarula MVNZ – who is by Picobello and out of Purple Reign – for just over two years.

“He’s a bit of a dude and while he is pretty chilled, he is a very difficult ride,” says Cooper. “He is quirky and doesn’t make it easy.”

Cooper has only ever had five young rider starts, with his first in Northland in November. He credits his rapid rise to his trainer John Cottle.

“He has taken me from stopping at 1.15m to this,” said Cooper. “He is amazing.”

Cooper admits to more than just a few nerves when he walked the course.

“It was biggest and most technical course I have ever jumped. John walked the course with me and just told me to ride it positively.”

The young rider course caused plenty of problems for others – six retired and two were eliminated from the class.

He nudged a few on the way round, and says he could hear the commentator saying he was all clear as he approached the last.

“All I could think of was the commentator’s curse!”

As 10th to go in the opening round, he then faced a long wait to see if there would be a jump-off.

“It was painful waiting,” he said.

Cooper comes from a horsey background – mum Leah and dad Elliot breed racehorses, but his 11-year-old brother Lachlan “doesn’t have a horsey bone in his body”.

Cooper will start the Fiber Fresh Junior Rider of the Year class on Sunday aboard Double J Angelic, and the 1.3m Prydes EasiFeed New Zealand Speed Horse of the Year class aboard Amarula MVNZ.

He’s hoping to bring out his five-year-old LC Lola – who is by Lindberg des Hayettes – out next year, and long term has his sights set on riding in World Cup classes, with Grand Prix the plan for the short term.

Finishing behind Cooper in the Young Rider class were Sam Morrison (Tauranga) on Frangipanne De Toxandria in second, Emily Hayward-Morgan (Te Awamutu) on AP Ninja in third, Emily Fraser (Bulls) on Kiwi Sunray in fourth, Melody Matheson (Hastings) ON Landenfeld in fifth and Sarah Young (Tokoroa) on Belize Di Cantero in sixth.




Results –


Dunstan Horse Feeds Young Rider of the Year: Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) Amarula MVNZ 1, Sam Morrison (Tauranga) Frangipanne de Toxandria 2, Emily Hayward-Morgan (Te Awamutu) AP Ninja 3, Emily Fraser (Bulls) Kiwi Sunray 4, Melody Matheson (Hastings) Landenfeld 5, Sarah Young (Tokoroa) Belize Di Cantero 6.

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