There will certainly be celebrations in the Australian ranks tonight at the 2018 Land Rover Horse of the Year.
A tough track in the Horseware Silver Fern Stakes incorporated the Trans-Tasman senior test match between Australia and New Zealand and the Aussies were on form, posting three clears in each of the first two rounds to force a jump off.
None of the Kiwis managed a clear in the first round, with Melody Matheson and Lily Tootill having two rails apiece aboard Graffiti MH and Ulysses NZPH respectively, while fellow team member Tess Clark had just the one down on Sinatra II. The fourth member of the Kiwi team, veteran Maurice Beatson, looked to be heading for a clear but a rail at the second to last and an unfortunate fall at the final fence put paid to that.
In the second round the Kiwis added more rails which put paid to their plan for a home country win, leaving the field wide open for the invaders to take both the individual trophy and the team honours.
Four went into the jump off, with double clear rounds from Australians, Stuart Jenkins and Fairview Aliquidam, Brooke Langbecker and Quintago and Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug. No matter what, the trophy was heading over the ditch, with the fourth double clear coming from New Zealander Katie Laurie who relocated to Australia in March 2017 but is back to contest the Olympic Cup once again. Aboard the lovely grey stallion Casebrooke Lomond she tried her best but couldn’t quite catch Beresford, who did one better than his second place in 2016 and took away the 2018 Horseware Silver Fern Stakes. Jenkins slipped into third with a rail in the final jump off relegating Langbecker to fourth.
Young rider Brayden Aarts was fifth with LT Holst Aunty Annette with a four fault total after two rounds with Tess Clark and Sinatra II sixth as the fastest eight faulter.
The Bayleys Real Estate Young Rider of the Year went to Te Awamutu teen Emily Hayward, the only double clear of the day on Yandoo Lady Gold. The class for under 21 year old riders is always hotly contested and the young lady was thrilled to take it out. Hayward has won the national young rider series multiple times but had yet to lay claim to the HOY title, and can now add the award to her long list of other victories. Kimberley Bird and Cera Cassina seem to like second place taking out the spot behind Emily after their second placing in the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year yesterday. Third went to Nakeysha Lammers and Resolution while Cambridge’s Nicola Hammond and Carlo I were fourth.
In the eventing, Rio Olympians Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation wowed in the dressage phase of the Land Rover CIC 3* to be in top position heading into the second phase. The thrilling cross country will take place from 9.00am at the show on Saturday morning.
Twice a Lady for Cubitt
It was a special day for two long time patrons of equestrian sport as they were inducted into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame on Thursday evening.
63 year old Julie Brougham and 69 year old Ross Coles were both inducted thanks to their many years of service to the sport they are so passionate about.
Brougham was the oldest competitor at the 2016 Rio Olympics with her chestnut stallion Vom Feinsten, and has recently been selected to represent New Zealand once again at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in the USA later this year.
Her contribution to dressage is significant and her success at the highest level of the sport is impressive – she is just the third Kiwi to have competed in dressage at an Olympic Games while also scoring higher than those who came before her.
Fellow rider Ross Coles comes from the show jumping side of things but his career is no less stellar. Having represented New Zealand internationally as a younger man, he was chef d’equipe for the New Zealand show jumping team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Coles hunted with Pakuranga Hunt for 25 years, was clerk of the course at Ellerslie Racecourse and still plays the part of technical delegate at shows all around the country. His service to Horse of the Year has spanned decades and his passion for the event and for the sport of show jumping is undeniable.
Out in the Premier Jumping Arena, the competition is starting to heat up with today seeing the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year crowned. 30 started the all-female class and the two round competition was exciting right down to the very end.
She’s won it before but this win was pretty special for Cambridge based professional rider Lisa Cubitt. On Matawai Sentana, a horse she has only been riding for six weeks for owner Jacqui Wright, she was clear in the first round. A bit of a stumble over the second fence in round two saw the rail come down and she put her foot down to be the fastest four faulter.
A couple of seconds separated Cubitt from second placed Kimberley Bird on Cera Cassina, who also had a rail down in the second round to follow their clear in the first. Her fellow South Island rider Tegan Fitzsimon settled into third just behind her with the lovely Double J Monarch and Waikato based Emily Hayward was fourth with Belischi HM.
Cubitt was understandably thrilled with the win, putting it down to good preparation. Her solid plan had been for a second clear round but the early rail meant she had to ride for time and her flying finish over the last fence was certainly impressive to watch.
Thursday also saw the first pony class in the Premier Jumping Arena with the final round of the Pony Championship Stakes, standing at approximately 1.25m.
26 ponies started the second round with several South Islanders in the mix and it was a mixed bag right from the start. Of the seven clears eventually posted there were four sitting on double clear when the points were added together, and a four way jump off commenced.
First out was Emma Watson on Maddox Fun House, a combination which has dominated the Pony Grand Prix classes all summer long. Their time was the quickest of the group but a rail down meant they settled for third place with Sophie Scott and Grace Manera jumping clear for first and second aboard Benrose Playtime and Tallyho Scoundrel respectively.
The other major title awarded was the GJ Gardner Pro-Amateur Rider of the Year which went to James Cottle and Oracle WT. The son of well decorated show jumper John Cottle, James has recently returned to the competition arena with much success. Second place went to Sally Clark, the partner of Dannevirke’s Maurice Beatson, riding Victoria’s Secret.
Friday will see the Hastings Heart of Hawke’s Bay Friday Night Extravaganza as well as the Horseware Silver Fern Stakes including the New Zealand versus Australia senior test team match. All eyes will be on the Kiwi team at 6.00pm as they defend the nation against the visiting team.
Golden Day for Tom and Popeye
Wednesday brought the first of the major show jumping titles as well as another picture perfect day of Hawke’s Bay sunshine.
The FMG Norwood Gold Cup was hard fought this afternoon with the honours eventually going to Tom Tarver-Priebe and Popeye. A tricky jump off was set and Tom was third out to post the first clear, and none could catch him. Australian young rider Brooke Langbecker came the closest on Quintago with a slow and steady clear round for second place, while last year’s victors William Willis and Dollar Roll MS were relegated to third with a brick falling off the wall in the jump off.
Earlier in the day the amateur riders had their time in the Premier Jumping Arena with the Wade Equine Amateur Rider of the Year final. 30 combinations had qualified the previous day and a beautiful course was set at a maximum of 1.20m by German course designer Werner Deeg. The course accentuated the flowing but technical track and of the 30, five horses and riders jumped clear and into the jump off.
She was the trailblazer in the first round and she had to do it all again in the jump off, but the pressure clearly didn’t faze South Islander Kate Cavanagh in the slightest. The Geraldine based full time rider rode Wallflower to the win in the final to take away the Wade Equine Amateur Rider of the Year ahead of second placed Anna Stephen and Lollipop SP.
Cambridge rider Rachel Malcolm piloted Monte Carlo MVNZ to a stunning win in the AHD Ltd Six Year Old Horse of the Year on Wednesday morning, coming in a full four seconds faster than runner up Samantha Peters on Cadillac NZPH. It was an impressive 11 horse jump off from 41 original starters and Malcolm was understandably thrilled with the victory on the horse she rides for the Tauranga stud Mount View Sport Horses.
Over in the Premier Dressage Arena, Vanessa Way had her second triumph of the show with NSC Pronto taking away the competitive Level 5 Title. They hit the 70% mark and are looking like a promising combination for the future. In the Level 4 Title Rebecca Rowlands was victorious with her Salutation gelding Solo.
The week continues with the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year on Thursday as well as the Cape Kidnapper’s Hall of Fame Cocktail Party in the evening. Later, the Hastings Heart of Hawke’s Bay Friday Night Extravaganza is sure to draw the crowds with an Australia versus New Zealand senior test match as part of the Horseware Silver Fern Stakes. The weekend looms with the big titles up for grabs including the Farmlands Pony of the Year and Premier Stakes on Saturday, and the Olympic Cup, Land Rover 3 Star Eventing and GJ Gardner Homes Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday.
Sun Shines on Day One
The Hawke’s Bay might have had a bit of rain on Monday night but Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny for the first day of the 2018 Land Rover Horse of the Year.
The South Island riders proved that they weren’t at the show to make up numbers, with Cantabrian Harry Feast taking out the IRT Horse 1.40m class aboard Double J Bouncer. Sixty-three combinations lined up for the first class in the Premier Jumping Arena, used by many riders as a warm up for the bigger and more prestigious jumping to come.
Eight horses and riders came back for the jump off after jumping clear in the first round with Feast best of the bunch with a second clear round in 50.88 seconds. Australian Clint Beresford was the only other clear in the jump off but he and horse Emmaville Jitterbug weren’t quite fast enough to catch Feast. Young rider Briar Burnett-Grant proved she’s won to watch this year with the excitable Fiber Fresh Veroana coming home as the fastest four-faulter in the jump off. She was followed by Northland’s Amanda Wilson of Keeping Up With the Kaimanawas fame riding Showtym Cassanova in fourth place as best of the eight faulters.
The pony area teams event, the Saba Sam Shield, was dominated by the Canterbury team made up of Grace Manera, Rosa Buist-Brown and Holly Crean. Named after the iconic mount of Graeme Hansen, the Saba Sam Shield was donated in 1971 when Hansen decided an incentive was needed to prepare young riders for teams events ahead of them. Saba Sam himself was repurposed as a show jumper after a disappointing racing career and together with Hansen represented New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. The Otago-Southland team kept up the South Island domination this year by coming a close second with their team of Ella Wylie, Noah Coutts, Jordan van Miltenburg and Pippa Collins.
The first class in the Premier Dressage Arena, the Donut Express Level 5 5C, was taken out by Vanessa Way and NSC Pronto with a score of 69.9%.
With good weather expected for the remainder of the week there will be plenty of excitement leading into the weekend. Hospitality ticket sales have been tracking well with the expectation of selling out of several of the speciality events including the Friday night Fish ‘n’ Chips evening and the Cross Country Brunch on Saturday.
HOY 2017 Deconstructed!
Horse of the Year is over for another season and it certainly will go down in history as one of the wettest HOYs ever. While the weather provided a disappointing backdrop, the show went on to crown the big show jumping titles on Sunday with Karaka’s Lily Tootill walking away with the prestigious Olympic Cup.
The crown jewel of HOY, the Olympic Cup is the class that show jumpers all over New Zealand dream of winning, and it was young Lily’s time to shine with her fabulous horse Ulysses NZPH. Fondly known as Ronald at home, the chestnut gelding bred by NZPH stud jumped well in very wet conditions and went double clear to take the win. The field was impressive indeed with twenty-one of the top combinations in the country lining up, and 2016 winners Helen McNaught and Carnutelabryere showed their consistency coming in second behind Lily. Helen had her big win of the week with the Aarts’ family’s LT Holst Aunty Annette taking out the Silver Fern Stakes on Friday afternoon.
Earlier that morning the Farmlands Pony of the Year was announced with South Island combination Steffi Whittaker and Moonlight Glow the only double clear. International course builder Werner Deeg built tough but fair courses under the conditions, taking into account the rain and wet ground.
The dressage title was hard fought and beautifully won by Abbie Deken on her gorgeous KH Ambrose, who was all smiles as the combination skipped around the Land Rover Premier Arena for their victory lap. The decision to cancel the cross-country phase of the eventing was made early Saturday morning due to the dangerous conditions and wet grounds making ambulance access difficult and meant that there was no Eventer of the Year crowned for 2017.
While the mud made for cancelled classes and shuffled timetables, it also heralded a massive mud fight on Saturday much to the delight of riders and spectators. The innovative Wilson sisters of TV series ‘Keeping Up With the Kaimanawas’ fame instigated the filthy fun and many joined in for a good laugh. Tractors were working overtime to pull trucks and cars out of the camping grounds but an overwhelmingly positive vibe stuck around despite the wet weather. It’s only the second time Horse of the Year has seen that much mud in the nearly twenty years it has been based in Hastings and though it makes for a difficult competition, trade was booming and did a great day on Saturday while it was too wet to ride.
Though Saturday may be remembered for the cancellation of the cross country and other show jumping classes, it also heralded dessert chef Adriano Zumbo’s debut at the event. His dessert degustation was a huge success with the VIP tent packed full of those keen to experience his creations alongside Harney and Sons Fine Tea. The five course dessert menu was beautifully complemented by delicious teas and the feedback was truly fantastic.The team is now looking forward to debriefing and getting stuck into the 2018 show.
Kinnordy Go Girl, ridden by two different members of the Thomas family, made it back to back wins in the Junior Showhunter of the Year class.
Galley, as she is known at home, is owned by Trudi Duncan, and has been campaigned by the Thomas family from Rotorua for several years. Tristan won the title last year and this year it was sister Claudia, 15, who emerged on top.
The combination had good form heading into the show, having won Open and Junior title classes at the North Island championships.
Mum Rachel said the family was grateful to Trudi for loaning such a special horse and wanted to thank her. “Without Trudi, Claudia wouldn’t be riding at HOY.”
Claudia was thrilled to win. “She was so good and smooth, she just feels like such a schoolmaster…I want to thank Trudi for letting me ride her, she doesn’t mind how we go, and that makes me a lot less nervous.”
In second place in the Junior was Isobel Vokes and Bizzie Beware, Megan Pearce and Waitangi Twitter came in third and Mollie Moffett and Kiwi Dula were fourth.
Torrential rain overnight and plenty more in the forecast has forced the postponement of the cross country phase of the eventing at the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.
Competition in the Land Rover Premier Arena has also been affected, with nothing being run until atleast after midday.
There is extensive flooding around the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds where around 3000 people are staying on site in tents and trucks.
A lovely clear showjumping round has seen Jackson Bovill and Visonnaire move into the lead in the FEI CIC3* eventing.
The Matangi combination sit in the box seat on 47.3 penalty points going into the final round tomorrow (Saturday), the John Nicholson-designed cross country.
“I am very happy,” said Bovill. “I just love my horse.”
Overnight leader Sarah Young (Tokoroa) and Leo Degas have slipped to fourth place after dropping a rail, to sit on 50.9. Samantha Felton (Cambridge) had three clears from her three horses, with Ricker Ridge Pico Boo in second on 47.6, and Ashleigh McKinstry (Owhango) on Pioneer Brass Monkey in third on 49.6.
Twenty-year-old Bovill posted a personal best in the dressage and was rapt with the efforts of his mare, and he is looking forward to the cross country.
“It is quite an attacking course,” he said. “It’s got bold lines and is well built. I’ll be sticking to my game plan and ride it as best I can.”
He’s picking the last combination in the cross country course as the toughest.
“It’s quite unexpected to have that at the end.”
This is the combination’s fourth 3* run. “She is pretty good across all three phases,” he said.
Bovill is studying marketing and PR at university while Visonnaire remains based with trainer Clarke Johnstone.
Bundy Philpott (Cambridge) and Tresca NZPH held on to their lead in the CIC2*, and sit on 40.6, with Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) and DSE Cluny moving up to second in 47.8 and Jessica Woods (Ohaupo) aboard Just de Manzana also moving up a slot for third.
Melody Matheson never doubted for a minute that Graffiti MH would win the Dunstan Nutrition Seven-Year-Old Horse of the Year crown at HOY.
Twenty-nine started the class with seven coming back for the jump-off. There, just two could keep their slates clean – Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) aboard Mea I and Matheson on Graffiti MH.
Matheson was last to go and knew she and her stunning mare had to really pull one out of the bag . . . and they did, coming home .32 of a second faster than Tombleson.
“I knew I just had to beat Fraser (Tombleson),” said the 22-year-old from Hastings. ”I watched him go and thought it was doable . . . well, on my horse it was.”
It was a tough field though, and as Matheson says – all of those in the line-up has been hugely competitive this season.
Matheson and Graffiti have been at, or near, the top of the series leaderboard all season, nabbing a good win at the Christmas Classic and finishing second at the National Young Horse Show.
“I have been very careful with her. She does love to jump but sometimes she is like a fire-breathing dragon. She is quite sassy, with a lot of attitude, but that is what makes her so good. If she didn’t have that she wouldn’t have that much blood in her.”
But Matheson insists the mare is “sweet”.
Matheson first tried the horse when she was four but she passed her over, only to return a year later and buy the mare from breeder Judith Matthews from Matthews Hanoverians.
“The original plan was to on-sell her but we just couldn’t let go of such a good horse.”
The horse is part owned by the breeder, Matheson and Angela Miller – Matheson’s “other mother”.
“To win today is just the icing on the cake after such a great season. I know the horse is good, so to win is excellent.”
Matheson started Graffiti in her first grand prix at Dannevirke in early January and were rewarded with a second place to Maurice Beatson, who has been hugely helpful to the rider, and who sold her Conyers, the former dressage horse she will start in Sunday’s Olympic Cup class.
Their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed either, with plenty of offers to buy Graffiti.
“She’s not for sale – she is a serious horse for the future. I would love to take her overseas if we ever get the opportunity.”
Matheson was trained as a youngster by Sue Thompson, who is still there to help when required.
It’s not the first HOY title Matheson has won either – in 2012 she won the Category C Show Hunter Pony of the Year aboard Co Cotton. She’s also been on numerous New Zealand young rider teams between 2013 and 2016.
Matheson is currently studying finance through Massey University part-time, allowing her to also focus on her riding.
Sarah Young and Leo Degas have the early lead in the CIC3* eventing at the end of the dressage phase.
The Tokoroa combination sit on 46.9 penalty points, with Jackson Bovill (Hamilton) aboard Visionnaire in second on 47.3 and Samantha Felton (Cambridge) on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo in third on 47.6.
Young was very pleased with the efforts of her 13-year-old, particularly as it is their first “proper” 3* together.
“He is normally pretty consistent on the flat,” she said. “I had a bit of a brain fade and made a course error but he is so cool and doesn’t get upset by much.”
Young has had the horse for three years. Dressage is his forte and she says the next two days will be “tough, but he is a good jumper”.
“He always gets me home safe and we’ll just try and go as fast as possible.”
The 37-strong CIC2* is being led by Bundy Philpott (Cambridge) and Tresca NZPH who sit on 40.6 penalty points at the end of the dressage. Kimberley Rear (Kerikeri) and Delta Legacy are in second on 45 with Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) on DSE Cluny in third on 47.8.
The showjumping phase is on Friday followed by the cross country on Saturday morning.