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.”

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