Aussie One and Two in Stakes
Aussie raider James Arkins added another Kiwi crown to his luggage last night with a win in the McMillan Silver Fern Stakes.
Aboard the Kiwi bred thoroughbred/warmblood cross Rosthwaite Vigilante II he was double clear in 61.99 seconds with his compatriot Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug second in 63.77.
However, Kiwi Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) and Carnutelabryere almost rained on the Aussies’ parade.
Last to go McNaught-McFarlane and her quirky Polish grey import were all clear and blitzing the time heading into the final fence but a bit of a miscalculation saw it come tumbling down. They finished on four faults in a time of 55.14 seconds.
“I really thought Helen had it,” says Arkins. “She certainly had me on my toes.”
However, the CSI2* $46,000 class was all his.
“Vigilante is jumping fantastic. I knew that course needed to be ridden forward, positively and flowing from the beginning to get into the right rhythm. Werner Deeg built it to be ridden and that suits my horse. He has an incredible stride and can get down the forward lines and take a stride out.”
And he backed himself to win the second richest class of the show before a packed grandstand.
“That is what we are here for. I am here to win. To be honest, the competition in the Silver Fern was stronger than what I expected and certainly was a real class out there. We really had to put our best foot forward.”
Arkins said the trip across the Tasman had taken its toll on his jumper.
“It has taken a bit out of him. I still don’t think he is as good as he could be – at home he is normally quite fresh and playful and I have to work him down. We are not quite at that point here. We are doing all we can to keep him feeling as good as possible.”
He’s a big fan of HOY.
“This is a fantastic show – it always has been. It will only get bigger and better in the future. I would like to see more coming over from Aussie for it. It is a fantastic venue and course builder.”
And he was rapt with the crowd too.
“They were unbelievable tonight. That is what we like to see. We want to build the sport and get more people to shows.”
Arkins also lined up in the Equissage Slalom Challenge which proved to be a huge crowd favourite.
“It’s an easy event to follow and the crowd get right into it.”
Arkins is now looking forward to tomorrow’s Olympic Cup.
“My horse is jumping his heart out. I just hope he can go out there and do it all again.”
The combination fly back to Australia on Monday and then on to Europe on Tuesday. It will be about a 45-hour trip to their new base in Normandy, France.
“We are being as careful as we can with him so he doesn’t overdo it. I am very aware of do everything I can to minimise any stress or fatigue.”
Arkins has been blown away by the Kiwi hospitality.
“It has all been so fantastic. The Kiwis have been very welcoming and friendly and made the trip so achievable, especially (my trainer) Vaughn (Jefferis).”
McMillan Silver Fern Stakes: James Arkins (Australia) Rosthwaite Vigilante II 1, Clint Beresford (Australia) Emmaville Jitterbug 2, Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) Dunstan On The Point Eve 3, Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) Carnutelabryere 4, Amanda Wilson (Hikurangi) Showtym Cassanova 5, Tash Brooks (Cambridge) Kapattack 6.