Silver Lining for Annie and Helen
Helen McNaught-McFarlane may have had every confidence in the ability of her horse LT Holst Aunty Annette, but even she didn’t pick them to win the Silver Fern Stakes.
The Taupo horsewoman, who is riding the horse for her teenage student Brayden Aarts, headed home a classy 14-strong field to take the win in the second richest class of the Horse of the Year Show.
McNaught-McFarlane and Annie – as she is known at home – were all clear in the opening round of the class, but picked up a single time fault. Nine combinations came back for the second round, where the eventual winner added nothing to her tally.
Behind her, Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) and Esteban MVNZ – a horse she is riding for the injured Carissa McCall – carried four faults from the opening round, and while clear in the second, had to settle for second place.
Mathew Dickey (Taranaki) and Quango were also clear in the second but were carrying four faults from the opening round, to come in for third, with Rio Olympic eventer Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Quainton Labyrinth, who were leading after the first round, filling fourth place.
McNaught-McFarlane was rapt with the efforts of her horse.
“I’ve had her just three weeks and this is our first show together,” she said. “I have been a catch rider for years so am well used to being able to getting on a horse without much preparation. This is just awesome. I knew she was a nice horse . . . I love a good mare; they try hard and work hard.”
She and husband Duncan McFarlane found the horse for Aarts and she is schooling her for the young rider.
McNaught-McFarlane also started her 2016 Olympic Cup winner Carnutelabryere in the Silver Fern Stakes but it wasn’t to be for the quirky grey Polish import, who retired in the second round.
She plans to start both Annie and Carnutelabryere in Sunday’s Olympic Cup.
Silver Fern Stakes: Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) LT Holst Aunty Annette 1, Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) Esteban MVNZ 2, Mathew Dickey (Taranaki) Quango 3, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Quainton Labyrinth 4, Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Casebrooke Lomond 5, Amanda Wilson (Hikurangi) Showtym Cassanova 6.