Champs toasted in Age Group Tours
The stars of tomorrow took centre stage today on the third day of Takapoto Estate Show Jumping with the age group finals for the four, five, six and seven-year-olds.
Samantha Peters took to heart the advice of best mate Dan Blundell when heading into the jump-off of the Seven-Year-Old Tour Final. “He told me not to take a pull so I didn’t,” said the fulltime rider from Cambridge. “We gave it everything out there. I had Dan watch the others go and report back. Going into the combination I had a flyer but I knew if I took a pull I wouldn’t win.”
Eight of the 21 starters came through to the jump-off where clears came from just Samantha and Logan Massie (Dannevirke) aboard the stallion Lamondo GNZ – Logan the first out in the jump-off and stopping the clock at 38.35 seconds with Samantha flying around in 34.68 seconds.
“I trusted my horse today and gave it our all – this horse is just so talented,” said Samantha. “It was a hugely strong field and I didn’t really think we had it but I know how good this horse is – he is just world class . . . everything about him is world class. He has the best attitude and work ethic, and just the best brain to work with. It is exhilarating to win.”
She extended a huge thanks to show organisers Mitch and Kate Plaw for giving riders such an opportunity, along with her partner Maxim, friend Dan, coach Jeff McVean and her sponsors.
Cadillac NZPH breeder Warwick Hansen was also very pleased with the result. It’s the 25th year of New Zealand Performance Horses’ breeding programme and they’re enjoying plenty of success on both sides of the Tasman. “We were always told year 20 would be when it all starts to happen and it’s right,” said Warwick. “You’ve got to be patient and it’s a big investment.”
He was chuffed to see Cadillac NZPH win the Seven-Year-Old Tour Final with Heloise Tolo (Wellington) and Can’t Touch This NZPH in fifth spot. “Both of the horses went so well, I am very proud of them and of what NZPH have achieved. I went into this to change the sport – everyone said to me we didn’t have the horse power here and I think we now do have that horsepower in New Zealand to move to higher things.”
Kim Best has been keeping pretty low key lately but there was no hiding in the shadows today when she and LT Holst Teacher’s Pet won the Six-Year-Old Tour Final.
The mum of two from Hastings headed home a super competitive eight-strong jump-off to take the honours. Kim was second out in the jump-off – ahead of her Tegan Fitzsimon (Christchurch) and Glenbrooke All Roses laid the challenge, going clear in 37.84 seconds.
But Kim and LT Holst Teacher’s Pet cut corners and were very fast, leaving everything up in 36.53 seconds. The next to go clear was Sophie Littlewood (Auckland) aboard Corpaccio Xtreme who stopped the clock at 40.77. Kiwi Olympian Samantha McIntosh and Malarkey were all class with their double clear in 39.16 effort with Melody Matheson (Hastings) and Cortaflex Enya MH also clear in 36.96 to secure second place. Fastest in the jump-off was Logan Massie (Dannevirke) aboard Double J Kelvin who paid for their speed with a rail in the combination.
Kim was rapt. “The mare is just wonderful – in spite of me she tries so hard all of the time. (Breeder) Ewen (Macintosh) has lots of lovely horses,” she said. Kim bought the horse as a three-year-old from her sister Brooke Edgecombe and Ewen. “He is breeding quality over quantity and is very careful about placing the horses.”
Coming into the final today Kim knew if she did her job the horse would be fine. “It is about giving her a good ride. I was disappointed with my efforts into the first but she is very careful and rideable, she makes my job easy. She has jumped so many clear rounds up until this show. There are such lovely six-year-olds out there – I was so very pleased just to be in that line-up, let alone at the front!”
Sharleen Workman may have been the toast of the Six-Year-Old Tour Final taking the trifecta in a hotly-contested class, but she was celebrating the wider showjumping industry.
Xtreme Sporthorses rider Luke Dee won the class aboard Chic Xtreme and was second on Avenger Xtreme, with Logan Massie taking third on Cassiana Xtreme – the horse he won the qualifier aboard.
But Sharleen was quick to share the love. “We are trying to get really nice horses out in the New Zealand competition arenas for New Zealand riders to do well on,” she said. “I think too we are perfecting the formula – we have nice stallions and really good New Zealand mares.”Vaughn Jefferis had plenty of good things to say about Sharleen and her contribution to the New Zealand showjumping industry. “Congratulations on producing fantastic sport horses,” he said. “The sport needs more people like you. Your jockey has done a super job.”
The nation had some great stallions and Sharleen said she felt as country, “we are very lucky”. “Everything is just magical in New Zealand.”
She admitted while you always hope to do well in classes, nothing was a given. “There are so many nice horses in New Zealand and it is very exciting.”
“I think this is a very good class for the youngsters,” she said. “We need more of these tour type competitions. I’ve got really good riders – they all do a great job.”
Sharleen has 125 horses at her Otaki base. Luke was very proud of both his horses. “Chic Xtreme is like a little pocket rocket,” he said. “Avenger Xtreme has taken a bit longer for it all to come together but I am just super happy with them both. This has been a fantastic show.”
Vaughn thanked sponsors Bayleys for their support of the class.
Takapoto was always on the radar for breeder Nicola Smith and her four-year-old champion Caprioska and today she was proved right. In the hands of Lizzie Green (Hamilton), Caprioska finished the final with an impressive score of 8.4, much to the delight of both rider and the breeder.
“I am speechless,” said Nicola. “I am just thrilled to have bred him and got to this stage. I couldn’t ask for anything more – it is just perfect.”
Lizzie too was over the moon. “I did wonder if Nicola was a little ambitious to bring him here but he showed himself off so beautifully today. He has turned out to be a natural and has exceeded all our expectations.”
In the final, four of the seven starters were clear. Judge Vaughn Jefferis said winner Lizzie had not disappointed. “We had hopes Lizzie, after your efforts in the qualifier,” he said. “Lizzie is the master of producing young horses. The horse was not as fresh but he jumped beautifully – it was a very deserved win.”
Vaughn also praised Jesse Linton and his mare Miss Veleta who placed second on a score of 8. “She improved a lot on her efforts in the qualifier but we just felt Lizzie was a little smoother.”
Third placed Oliver Croucher and Lombardi had a special connection with Vaughn who had competed aboard the gelding’s grandmother Gemima Puddleduck.
The last of the finalists for the bronze, silver and gold tours were also found today. Sunday marks the end of the first week of the show, with competition kicking off again on Thursday next week.
For full results, head to www.equestrianentries.co.nz.