Mighty Ninja Stars in Gold Tour Qualifier
Cambridge teen Emily Hayward pulled off a fabulous win this afternoon, taking out the Gold Tour Qualifier aboard her bred-to-race thoroughbred AP Ninja. They headed home a 44-strong field that saw 11 come back for the jump-off in sometimes very testing conditions.
Melody Matheson (Hastings) and Cortaflex Graffiti MH notched the first clear of the jump-off despite tapping a few rails on the way round, stopping the clock at 51.09 seconds. The in-form Tegan Fitzsimon (Canterbury) and Windermere Cappuccino followed straight after with a lovely clear round in 49.81 seconds.
The rest of the jump-off field all had faults, leaving it up to last-to-go Emily to nudge Tegan from the top spot.
The two fairly flew round, attacking the course and making light work of the conditions to take the win in a time of 47.53. It was a very happy and somewhat surprised Emily who laid the credit at the hooves of Ninja.
He smashed it! He loves the wet so I thought I may as well take advantage of it,” she said. “He was just loving it out there . . . but he was pretty hot. I certainly didn’t expect to win – especially with those Aussies in the field.
But she was rapt with the result. “It is pretty cool to win that on Ninja – the little guy up against those big horses in a pretty prestigious class. The top 20 from today will progress through to Sunday’s final with those missing out having another chance at a second qualifier tomorrow.
Luke Dee (Waipukurau) and Oliver Edgecombe’s Cheyenne were super speedy on their way to victory in the Silver Tour Qualifier. There were just four double clears in the 50-strong field, with a further 12 clear in the first round but picking up faults in the second. The organising committee opted to bring through to the Sunday final another 13 combinations who picked up four faults in the opening round.
Luke has competed at just three shows with Cheyenne for four wins and a third from their six starts. “I love how very easy going she is with a nice forward rhythm,” says Luke. “Once she is in her groove, she goes along well and is very consistent. She is really my type of ride.
The 25-year-old full time rider felt the Gerrit Beker-designed course had ridden a lot tougher than it had walked. “It was a big open course when we are not used to here but I do like them. I think we were lucky to come out on top he said.
Luke and Cheyenne flew through the jump-off in 28.2 seconds with Melody Matheson (Hastings) and Cortaflex Illusion SSH stopping the clock at 34.72, Catherine Cameron (Cambridge) aboard Charlton Bazaar home in 36.52.
Tors Rattray (Mangatangi) and Larmani MVNZ took the honours in the Bronze Tour Qualifier, ahead of Emma Gaze (Ohaupo) and Kowhai Bug in second and Charlotte Amos (Cambridge) and Kabo Marmite in third. Twenty-four of the 70-strong field have now qualified for Sunday’s final.
It was a tie at the top of the Five and Six-Year-Old Consolation with Vicki Wilson (Hawke’s Bay) aboard Carpaccio TWS, Paula Mussen (Pukekohe) on Déjà vu NZPH and Catherine Cameron (Cambridge) on Dolce NZPH first equal.
For full results, head to www.equestrianentries.co.nz