Accomplished Horsewoman Takes Opening GAT Round at Takapoto
Kate Hewlett is known for plenty in the world of horses – she’s a trainer, a coach and a rider who has competed at the highest echelons of eventing, at Burghley and Badminton and was even long-listed for the Athens Olympic Games.
But that was all a long time ago, and these days she’s happier showjumping at the lower levels. This afternoon she and Kiwi Sunset headed home 46 other combinations to take the honours in the opening round of the Global Amateur Tour in the second week of Takapoto Estate Show Jumping on the shores of Lake Karapiro.
She bought the horse as a four-year-old from breeders Fernhill Stud and last season did the five-year-old series. “She’s been a challenging mare because she likes to go so fast,” said the horsewoman from Kerikeri who says she spent the whole round trying to slow the horse down. “I was just going for a clear, with no thoughts of a win, but she had other ideas.”
She was rapt with the win, especially as it was her first time to Takapoto.
Kate went mid-field and blitzed the field to come home clear in 59.07 seconds, well clear of runner-up Sharon Klijn (The Netherlands) who crossed the flags in 62.07 seconds. Of the 47 starters, 18 were clear, so time was crucial for those wanting to make the podium. Third-placed Jeremy Clark (Te Kauwhata) and Cancion HSH was just a smidgen behind Sharon with his 62.89-second effort with Brooke Knight-Willis (Auckland) and Everything Equine Totara home in 63.68 seconds.
All combinations come back for Friday’s second round where the starters for the A and B final will be decided. Also included in the round is a teams’ challenge featuring 12 teams of four.
“That brings another unique aspect to GAT,” says GAT co-founder Lucy Olphert. “A lot of amateur riders haven’t ridden as a team and it is nice to bring our internationals together with our Kiwi hosts.”
The top 25 individuals from the second round will progress to the A final which is being held in the Bellevue Arena on Saturday afternoon. The B final is in the APL Sand Arena on Saturday morning.
Lucy says she is very pleased to have the event back at Takapoto. This year the tour includes 11 internationals from South Africa, Australia, The Netherlands, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
It was a case of follow my lead in the horse 1.3m speed class this afternoon with Tegan Fitzsimon edging out her pupil Peita Milne to take the honours.
The two South Island riders notched the only clears of the class, with Pieta (Nelson) and Global PH Mylorde coming home in 78.17 seconds and Tegan (West Melton) aboard her 20-year-old campaigner Alacazam MH four combinations later crossing the flags in 73.79.
Tegan was rapt Peita went clear. “She is quite green at that height and the horse is only seven but she nailed it,” said Tegan.
The class was Alacazam MH’s only start at Takapoto this week and Tegan is planning to retire him at the end of the season. This is their 11th season together. He started his equestrian career as a dressage horse before moving to eventing and finally found his showjumping niche with Tegan.
“He is pretty strong and likes to do his own thing.”
Tegan is loving the courses from Michel Ismalun (FRA), and says they flow beautifully.
Third to fifth placings in the class today were all on four faults with Christine Cornege (Cambridge) and Varekai SL the fastest, stopping the clock at 69.9 seconds.
Sixth placed Tim Featherston (Kerikeri) was the fastest of the class with his 69.71 second effort but paid for it with two rails to finish on eight faults.
Global Amateur Tour (round one): Kate Hewlett (Kerikeri) Kiwi Sunset 1, Sharon Klijn (The Netherlands) Mizta Frosty 2, Jeremy Clark (Te Kauwhata) Cancion HSH 3, Brooke Knight-Willis (Auckland) Everything Equine Totara 4, Kaleigh Kent (Otane) Sponge Bob Square Pants 5, Amelia Clark (Auckland) Master of Hossack 6.
Horse 1.3m speed: Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Alacazam MH 1, Peita Milne (Nelson) Global PH Mylorde 2, Christine Cornege (Cambridge) Varekai SL 3, Sam Matthews (Cambridge) DSE Exuberance 4, Lisa Coupe (Cambridge) Lotte 5, Tim Featherston (Kerikeri) Bellagio NZPH 6.