A Pearl of a Win for Irvine
Land Rover Premier Arena gate steward Blake Keane gave Mathew Irvine a little bit of advice as he rode into the jump-off of the AHD Ltd Six-Year-Old Horse of the Year class today, and it turns out it paid big dividends.
The Takapau teen and La Perla headed home 46 other combinations to take the win in the title class, which is also part of the Mitavite Breeding Series.
Irvine and La Perla were double clear in 38.33 seconds, just ahead of Kirsten Worker (Auckland) aboard Melanie’s Choice who were also all clean in 38.8.
Eighteen combinations came through to the jump-off, where the first 12 were also double clear.
“I watched the first five in the first round and there was a fair bit of carnage, but it rode better than I thought it would,” said Irvine, who has been riding La Perla for a season-and-a-half.
He was initially riding the mare for his trainers Maurice Beatson and Sally Clark, but was then given a half share.
“It was because I had done a good job with her so I was really happy about that.”
Irvine, a year 13 student at Central Hawke’s Bay College, felt if they got through to the jump-off they would have a good chance of taking the title thanks to her speed.
“Blake encouraged me to take a risk in the jump-off so I did. We went fast, cut corners and I really opened her up – we did pony corners! I knew she could handle it and completely trust her. She just tries her heart out.”
He was absolutely rapt to win the title.
“It is just amazing. At the beginning of the season I thought we would be having a cruisy season because she was pretty green but the second half she has really stepped up.”
La Perla is the granddaughter of Lansing and has Distelfink on her dam’s side.
“We’ve been in the top six of the series right from the start and now should be right near the top,” said Irvine. “I have been chasing the series because she has been trying so hard this season and really deserves it.”
At 16hh the horse is just not big enough for Irvine and is being sold.
“This win is really special . . . it’s not every day you win a title at HOY.”
He has previously won the Pony of the Year title. At 12 he started competing on horses, and moved fully into the division at 14.
Irvine will line up in the Dunstan Nutrition Young Rider of the Year class (part of the FMG Young Rider Series) on Friday aboard Wall Street III.
“I am really nervous about that one,” he says. “We are not that experienced at that height and have done just one premier young rider leading up to HOY.”
AHD Ltd Six-Year-Old of the Year (part of the Mitavite Breeding Series): Mathew Irvine (Takapau) La Perla 1, Kirsten Worker (Auckland) Melanie’s Choice 2, Duncan McFarlane (Taupo) Be Mine NZPH 3, Tegan Fitzsimon (Canterbury) Windermere Cappuccino 4, Vicki Wilson (Hikurangi) LC Showtym Cassinii 5, Julie Davey (Hastings) JD Ruby 6.