Brooke Edges Out Familiar Hawke’s Bay Rival to Claim 2020 Olympic Cup

30 Mar

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Waipukurau’s Brooke Edgecombe is celebrating the biggest win of her equestrian career after claiming Land Rover Horse of the Year’s most revered trophy, the prestigious Olympic Cup.

In what was the pinnacle event of the Land Rover Horse of the Year show, the Waipukurau showjumper aboard her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare LT Holst Andrea jumped double clear into what would be a nail-biting two-horse jump-off.

As the combination took to the ring for the third and final time, the pair had a couple of lives as the poles rolled back and forth in their cups, the packed out grandstand so quiet you could hear a pin drop. As she flew the last clear the crowd erupted and it was then up to Hastings local Melody Matheson riding Cortaflex Graffiti MH to apply the pressure.

But it wasn’t Matheson’s day, with heartbreak as the oxer in front of the grandstand came down and the winner was declared.

“It’s a huge boost. You sort of think of it in the back of your mind, always hoping and thinking you can do it, and today it happened,” said an ecstatic Brooke Edgecombe.

Today was Edgecombe’s fourth attempt at the prestigious title and she confessed the encouraging words from her husband Oliver who won the title in 2007 were the very boost she needed.

“That’s probably been one of my biggest things throughout my whole riding career, I’ve never really thought I could do it. But today I actually believed I could.”

The talented little mare jumped faultlessly, but the future didn’t always look bright for the German import.

“She came out here, and she was probably a little mediocre as a young horse.”

Edgecombe confesses that at one stage she reluctantly took the ride on her.

“Halfway through her seven-year-old year, it was like the penny dropped.”

“She’s just gone from strength to strength and tries her absolute heart out.”

Amongst incredible company, the combination outshone in more ways than one, and they now have the infamous Stirrups Equestrian red show jacket and rug to prove it.

“It was a really strong class with really strong courses today. I couldn’t say there was one weak combination, and it’s been like that all season.”

“I think our top riders and horses in New Zealand at the moment are really strong, and it’s great.”

Brooke dedicated her win to the support system around her, specifically renowned coach Jeff McVean, and Vicki Wilson’s equine therapy sessions throughout the week.

But she admits upcoming plans to head to Australia at the end of the New Zealand season are looking unstable given recent global concerns surrounding coronavirus.

“Shows are canceling left right and center and it’s probably looking like it’s not going to be possible to do that.”

“We will just sit it out and see what happens.”

Winning Colours for Local Pony of the Year Victor

14 Mar

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It was an absolute dream come true for Takapau’s Samantha Carrington, who claimed the 2020 Farmlands Pony of the Year title aboard her little chestnut mare Colours Of Lansing.

As 31 of the country’s best young riders and their pocket rocket ponies tackled the 1.25-1.35m course, nine returned for the second round.

Early leader Phoebe Howson riding Grand Prix superstar Aorangi Ragtime had an unfortunate elimination in the second round. Of the nine it was just Carrington and 13 year old Emma Gillies from Oamuru who pulled off a faultless second round, resulting in a two pony jump off.

The crowd was on the edge of their seats and the pressure was well and truly on for the two super star combinations. Eight faults was earned by first up Gillies aboard her dun mare Benrose Playtime. A composed Carrington took to the Premier Arena and made it clear over the last, dropped her reins and punched the air

“I think it’s everybody’s dream.” she effused of her newly crowned title.

An emotional Carrington couldn’t hold back the tears as she clung to the Somerset Fair Cup.

“We’ve been together for five years now, so we know each other pretty well.”

What is their fourth Land Rover Horse of the Year together, this is their very first win at the show.

Watching from the sidelines was Mum Wendy, and Aunt Robyn. The two identical twins who run the Double J Stud in Takapau are two of her biggest supporters.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Wendy.

“All our horses are family members and we know how hard it is to get a win.”

Last year Wendy considered selling the mare to help the family financially.

“I thought no I will give her another year. And it’s the best decision I ever made.”

Now, a year on and her very composed daughter has claimed the country’s most prestigious pony title aboard the quirky little mare.

“Just as long as we’re trusting each other on the day, it works out pretty good,” said Carrington.

As her last season on ponies, the possibility of selling is still very much on the cards, or the possibility of breeding through their stud.

“If I can’t find the right home, she stays.”

The Land Rover Horse of the Year Show culminates tomorrow with the event’s hallmark show jumping event the Stirrups Equestrian Olympic Cup. With 21 starters it’s set to provide a crowd spectacle, with the country’s top riders riding for supremacy.

Tokyo Hopefuls Take Their Hat Off to Bundy in the Land Rover Horse of the Year Four Star

14 Mar

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It was the Waikato eventers who took home the top honours in the Land Rover Horse of the Year CCI3* and CCI4* competitions today, attracting the praise of the event’s defending title holder.

The highly anticipated cross country phases got underway this afternoon at the Land Rover Horse of the Year, as riders flew around the 3.8 kilometre Burghley themed track.

Returning course designer Chris Ross gave audiences front row seats to all the action, as the course’s 34 jumps asked plenty of questions of both horses and riders.

Yesterday’s CCI4* surprise leader Bundy Philpott maintained her winning position as the Cambridge eventer made short work of the course aboard her 13 year old gelding Tresca NZPH.

Incurring a 0.4 time penalty taking her final score to 35.8, just ahead of last year’s winning CCI4* combination Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding, with 36.2 after four faults in the show jumping phase.

Pottinger and her 13 year old thoroughbred have a plethora of top level eventing wins and placings to their name, including winning the CCN3* at Arran Station Spring Horse Trials last year and second in the 2018 Adelaide CCI5*.

With an unfortunate rail in the show jumping, Pottinger remained positive following an outstanding cross country round.

“He wanted to do everything I asked of him, so I couldn’t be happier with him today.”

“I couldn’t have picked a better winner. Bundy has done a lot for the sport in the last couple of years.”

With the announcement of the Event Rider Masters and FEI World Cup Finals being cancelled due to growing concerns amid the CONVID-19 outbreak, the possibility of the Tokyo Olympic Games being delayed are of a concern to our own eventing hopefuls.

“I’ve put everything on hold,” says Pottinger.

Delaying her flights to the UK until April 15th, Pottinger is simply seeing how things develop on a day by day basis.

“I wanted to make the most of it today, go hard and take every opportunity, but in terms of flying, I’m playing it day by day.”

Karaka eventor Monica Oakley jumped into third place after finishing clear with a final score of 37.3 aboard 9 year old gelding Acrobat. Surpassing Olympic hopeful Madison Crowe who incurred 3.2 time penalties in the cross country, adding to the four faults from her show jumping phase.

Winner Bundy Philpott has owned her NZPH gelding since he was four, claiming the Puhinui International Three Day Event and competing to four star level in Adelaide in 2018.

Te Kauwhata’s Donna Edwards-Smith also maintained her overnight lead in the CCI3* as her chestnut thoroughbred DSE Clooney maintained a strong lead. Even with the time penalty score of 9.2 her final score of 41.9 couldn’t be caught.

Dressage winner Monica Oakley aboard her 8 year old thoroughbred jumped back into the placings she lost after a 12 fault show jumping round.  Cross country time penaltiess saw the pair finish on a final score of 46.4, just enough to edge out Vicki Cole Browne-Cole on her thoroughbred mare Cutting Edge who earnt 14 time penalties to finish on a final score of 47.

ENDS.

Southerner Picks Up Premier Stakes Win at Land Rover Horse of the Year

14 Mar

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Land Rover Horse of the Year has been worth the trip north from Routeburn Station, near Queenstown for young farmer Grace Perry who proved too strong in the Premier Stakes today.

Perry had the winning edge aboard her 17 year old “late bloomer” Kiwi Spirit, the pair blitzing up the 22 strong field and some very highly regarded company.

Held in the Land Rover Horse of the Year’s Premier Arena, the 1.40-1.50m course filled with challenging combinations and long runs between fences saw the riders rewarded for bravery.

Just two of the 22 combinations jumping clear in the first round and eight returning for the jump off.

Young gun Perry and her chestnut gelding were last in the eight horse jump off, where no combination could manage double clears without incurring a time penalty at the very least.

The pressure was on for the 22 year old who had ventured all the way from her parent’s farming station in Glenorchy, who were there to support her from the sidelines. The pair continued their faultless first round, jumping clear and fast in the jump off to secure the win.

“The game plan was always just to go clear, but then the competitive edge came out in the end.”

“I did not expect this at all, he was amazing out there.”

Perry was closely followed by Tauranga’s Sally Steiner aboard Cartoon NZPH, who left the rails up but incurred a two point time penalty. Last year’s winner Nakeysha Lammers managed a clear jump off, but carried her four faults from round one to finish third.

The speechless Perry was delighted with the win, as the combination have been together for five years as Kiwi Spirit was Perry’s first hack. They’ve advanced  through the show jumping grades together, notching up their first season at Grand Prix level with two wins and a respectable second.

“I didn’t want to just go out and do Grand Prix and just get around it, I wanted to go out and do well.”

With no plans of stopping anytime soon, the gutsy pair look like ones to keep an eye on in the future.

“I’ll just keep him going, keep him happy.”

Nerves of Steele a Winning Formula in Silver Fern Stakes at Land Rover Horse of the Year

14 Mar

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It has been a long time between drinks for Dannevirke’s Robert Steele, who nabbed the Cavallino Silver Fern Stakes in the Premier Arena on Friday aboard LT Holst Bernadette.

The farmer’s last Land Rover Horse of the Year title win was the Norwood Gold Cup in 2008, which he also won three years prior.

“It’s just been a show that’s been unlucky for me. It’s just one of those things you have to keep trying and one day it will happen.”

Steele and his 11 year old Holsteiner mare have been together for five years, but an unfortunate paddock injury meant they missed the majority of last season.

The testing 1.40-1.50m track meant just two of the 19 combinations jumped the first round clear, with the top 10 going through to the jump off.

Following her Young Rider Title win, Briar Burnett-Grant riding her Horse of the Year Olympic Gold Cup winning mount Fibre Fresh Veroana settled for third as the fastest four faulter.

Pocket rockets Annabelle Francis and Carado GHP gave it their best shot jumping clear for a time of 59.97, but it just wasn’t quick enough to catch the fast and clear Steel with 57.41.

“I thought it was a great track today to come out on top.”

“They are nice tracks, they take a bit of jumping but that’s what we’re here for.”

The annual Land Rover Horse of the Year, held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana (March 10-15) attracts in excess of 50,000 spectators over the week of competition, where the country’s top riding combinations compete for lucrative national titles.

Shake-Up in the Land Rover Horse of the Year 4 Star Eventing Leaderboard

14 Mar

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There’s been a major shake-up to the leaderboard of the Land Rover Horse of the Year 4 Star eventing class, following Friday’s show jumping classes.

Early leader and Olympic hopeful Clarke Johnstone has withdrawn his Olympic qualified mount Balmoral Sensation after a four fault round, electing to save his horse the run ahead of tomorrow’s cross country phase.

Sitting fifth after dressage, Cambridge rider Bundy Philpot has edged up on the early leaders aboard her 13 year old gelding Tresca NZPH, with a faultless show jumping round and a total score so far of 35.4.

Philpot sits narrowly ahead of other Olympic hopefuls Havelock North’s Amanda Pottinger and Madison Crowe.

Clarke Johnstone’s second mount Aces High also had a four fault show jumping round and drops two places to sixth.

The field take on tomorrow’s 3.6 kilometre cross country course which includes 34 jumping questions designed by Rio builder Chris Ross .

Meanwhile over in Arena One, the Land Rover CCI3*-S early leader Monica Oakley’s brilliant dressage penalty score of 26.4 aboard Artist was blundered as the combination amassed 12 faults in the show jumping.

Now sitting in the lead is Waikato’s Donna Edwards-Smith riding chestnut thoroughbred DSE Cluny on 32.7.

She is closely followed by Waiuku’s NZ Talent ID Squad member Vicky Browne-Cole riding thoroughbred mare Cutting Edge.

21 year old Auckland student Alena Dorotich jumped from ninth to third following a clear show jumping round on 12 year old gelding Donner XS.

ENDS.

Land Rover Horse of the Year Young Rider Title a First for Briar Burnett-Grant

14 Mar

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21 young guns brought their ‘A’ game to the Premier Arena today to battle out the hotly contested Bayleys Young Rider Final at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.

Former Olympic Cup winner Briar Burnett-Grant finally added the Bayleys Young Rider title to her plethora of achievements, as the 19 year old pocket rocket finished on just two time penalties from round one.

Riding Fiber Fresh Delphine NZPH, Briar was tossing up between competing her in the Seven Year Old class or this,

“I think I made the right choice.”

Embraced by fellow competitor and friend Leeshelle Smalls, who finished in second aboard AMS Glenbrooke Archie Bunker, Grant dedicated much of the win to the support team around her.

“I’m very lucky to have Jeff McVean support me, coaching me for years.”

Watching from the sidelines was a proud McVean, who is no stranger to producing top show jumping riders.

“I’ve taught Briar for a long time.”

“She’s like another daughter.”

McVean’s Daughter Katie won the Young Rider Title’s Big Red Trophy in 2011, as well as the Olympic Cup five times.

“Briar’s not the greatest season this year.  So this is really good for her.”

Hastings Local Jesse Linton Makes the 5YO Class Look Easy at Land Rover Horse of the Year

14 Mar

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There was no other combination who tackled the 4CYTE Five Year Old Class on Friday as effortlessly as Jesse Linton and his colourful Pinto Keltern William.

The future of show jumping looks bright as the sport’s up and coming horses battled it out in the Premier Arena of the Land Rover Horse of the Year, with 15 of the 31 combinations going through to the jump off.

Just five could manage a clear round in the tight and speedy jump off, a challenge in itself for these young guns amongst the high pressure atmosphere of the main arena.

Hastings local Linton and his self produced gelding were third through to the jump off, the cool calm and collected combination made it look effortless as they jumped faultlessly for a time of 47.28. seconds.

“I knew I would be pretty quick. The course suited my horse because he’s little and fast.”

“Everything is quite easy for him.”

Purchased by Kim Best and Linton as a two year old, the fulltime rider finds producing young horses something he really enjoys.

“You get a lot out of it.”

A Land Rover Horse of the Year regular, Linton is often competing young self produced horses and has the titles to show for it, winning a number of Age Series classes.

Out of a Royal Highness mare, Linton highly rates the young horse who jumped double clear in his 1.20m class earlier in the week.

“He finds jumping quite easy.”

“Not many 5 year olds are jumping 1.20m for a warmup.”

It was a Hawke’s Bay trifecta as 16 year old Samantha Carrington from Takapau riding Double J Hurricane jumped clear for 48.25.

Carrington narrowly edged out John MacLennan from Waipukurau aboard chestnut mare Tolly, who settled for third with a time of 48.25.

ENDS.

 

Sensational Start for Clarke Eyeing a Berth for Tokyo

14 Mar

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It was the luck of the last for Clarke Johnstone aboard Balmoral Sensation with the final combination in the Land Rover Horse of the Year CCI4* setting the bar for the remainder of the week.

Currently sitting on a penalty score of just 31.4, the combination are narrowly ahead of Havelock North’s Amanda Pottinger on 32.2 and other Olympic hopeful Maddy Crowe on 32.8, with the show jumping and cross country on Saturday still to contest.

The three top eventing Olympic hopefuls are making their final New Zealand appearance at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show this week before heading to the UK to further their bid for Tokyo.

Olympic focussed Clarke and Balmoral Sensation have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but Clarke is aiming to qualify his second thoroughbred Aces High who finished just in behind the leaders with a respectable fourth in the dressage phase on a penalty score of 32.4.

It’s capped off a solid start to the week for the Matangi based rider who finished third on Balmoral Sensation in the Horse 1.30m on Tuesday, while Aces High finished close behind in sixth.

Land Rover Horse of the Year, held in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay (March 10-15) attracts in excess of 55,000 spectators over the week of competition and sees over 1800 horses and 1400 riders compete for lucrative national titles.

Sensational Start for Clarke Eyeing a Berth for Tokyo

12 Mar

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It was the luck of the last for Clarke Johnstone aboard Balmoral Sensation with the final combination in the Land Rover Horse of the Year CCI4* setting the bar for the remainder of the week.

Currently sitting on a penalty score of just 31.4, the combination are narrowly ahead of Havelock North’s Amanda Pottinger on 32.2 and other Olympic hopeful Maddy Crowe on 32.8, with the show jumping and cross country on Saturday still to contest.

The three top eventing Olympic hopefuls are making their final New Zealand appearance at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show this week before heading to the UK to further their bid for Tokyo.

Olympic focussed Clarke and Balmoral Sensation have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but Clarke is aiming to qualify his second thoroughbred Aces High who finished just in behind the leaders with a respectable fourth in the dressage phase on a penalty score of 32.4.

It’s capped off a solid start to the week for the Matangi based rider who finished third on Balmoral Sensation in the Horse 1.30m on Tuesday, while Aces High finished close behind in sixth.

Land Rover Horse of the Year, held in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay (March 10-15) attracts in excess of 55,000 spectators over the week of competition and sees over 1800 horses and 1400 riders compete for lucrative national titles.