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.

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