Opening day of Takapoto Estate 2019 a cracker
It’s been a brilliant first day of competition at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. The grounds look amazing and hundreds of competitors, their support crews and spectators made the most of the stunning venue and exciting jumping.
Over the coming days, more than 747 combinations will vie for their slice of the $142,000 prize money on offer. Mitch Plaw, who with their family are the driving force behind Takapoto Estate, was very pleased to hear great feedback and see everything come together.
“I am happy to get positive feedback on the new sand arena, which is something that is close to my heart,” said Mitch. “It’s great the weather allowed everything to run smoothly today.”
He has had 40-odd tradies working flat out at the estate for the past week ensuring everything was perfect for the opening day of the two week event.
Since the successful inaugural show in 2018, there has been plenty of development, and Takapoto Estate now has 250 covered stables, along with another 30 borrowed ones. The new sand arena is proving a hit with the riders and Mitch is already looking forward to the next phase of development.
Bellevue Main Arena course designer Gerrit Beker was also very happy with the day. “It’s nice to hear the riders are enjoying the courses,” he said. “It’s something we always try to achieve but it isn’t always that easy! Takapoto is such a nice venue.”
The competition was fierce across all classes with some very exciting jumping throughout the day.
The Four-Year-Old Tour Qualifier, won by eventer-turned-showjumper Lizzie Green (Hamilton) aboard Caprioska, set the stage for a brilliant day. The grey gelding drew huge praise from the judges who awarded the combination 8.8 points. Judge Vaughn Jefferis said the two were stand outs in a quality class. “We were very excited when we saw him jump,” he said.
Both Lizzie and breeder Nicola Smith say the rather cheeky gelding has always been a standout. “He is quite special to be jumping like this,” says Lizzie, who has only been riding the horse for six weeks. “He is a real stunner.” In his build-up, Caprioska had been to one practice day and had a few arena outings. “He is so respectful of the rails and is a joy to ride. I secretly hoped he would go well.”
Nicola was also over the moon. “He’s very cheeky but has always shown plenty of talent.”
Sharleen Workman and her Xtreme horses dominated the Five-Year-Old Tour Qualifier, taking the trifecta ahead of a 32-strong field. Logan Massie (Dannevirke) and Cassiana Xtreme won the day with a score of 7.8 with Luke Dee (Otaki) aboard Chic Xtreme second with 7.7 and Luke in third equal place with Avenger Xtreme on 7.6. It was super tight for the top six placings but again, the judges felt Logan had shone.
“That was super technique Logan,” said Vaughn Jefferis. “It was really beautifully ridden. It was a bit spooky out there for some.”
It was just Cassiana Xtreme’s third show, and only her second with Logan. “The course was very good out there,” said Logan who has ridden quite a few for Sharleen in the past. “The mare has nice technique, is very rideable and well suited to this class.
It was with mixed feelings he shared the podium with younger sister Georgia who was third equal on Jay Z GNZ and sixth equal aboard Cracka Xtreme. “There is quite a bit of competition between us and I’ve been getting beaten a bit lately so I need to pick up my game!”
Melody Matheson and Cortaflex Enya MH have backed up their North Island Six-Year-Old crown with a win in the Six-Year-Old Tour. The Hastings rider and her lovely big grey mare were impressive over the Gerrit Beker-designed course, scoring 8.1 from judges Vaughn Jefferis, Jake Lambert and Travis Morgan.
Right on Melody’s tail on a score of eight, was New Zealand Olympian and World Championship rider Samantha McIntosh aboard Takapoto Equestrian’s Malarkey, who is by Corofino II and out of her seasoned competition mare Estina.
“It was pretty close between the two (combinations),” said Vaughn. “We really had to knuckle our heads together. We were very pleased with the quality of the riding in this class.”
Melody says her mare, who she has been riding for two years now, has her highs and lows but she always has plenty of ability. “She can be naughty and sometimes a little tricky but has so much talent – I didn’t expect to win today but she was very calm out there and I knew she could do it.”
Sharing third equal on scores of 7.9 were current Olympic Cup holder Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) aboard Gale and recently crowned Longines FEI World Cup Series winner Tegan Fitzsimon (Canterbury) aboard Campari.
Sally Steiner figures her opposition had probably written her off just watching her in the warm-up arena . . . but she and Cartoon NZPH proved them all wrong in the Seven-Year-Old Qualifier this afternoon. They were the last of 30 combinations to go in the class and just ahead of them Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Watermill Hadley had posted a score of 8.4. However, Sally and Cartoon NZPH – who last year won the Six-Year-Old Tour Qualifier and placed third in the final – rode the most stunning of rounds to take the class by just .1.
“He is super-talented,” said the Tauranga-based rider. “I knew if I rode him well he could do well but he was so fresh in the warm-up I think the others thought I’d be lucky to stay on in there!”
Their season hasn’t been as “fluid” as Sally would have liked after Cartoon NZPH hurt himself on the truck heading to their second show and he hasn’t done a show for three weeks before Takapoto.
“He’s a little quirky and usually quite keen to warm-up but I know it can be so good.”
Clarke Johnstone tipped his hat to class winner Sally. “I was delighted to be second,” he said. “I am delighted with the horse . . . just thrilled.”
Samantha Peters (Cambridge) rounded out the top three aboard Cadillac NZPH with a score of 8.2. It was a great class for Ocean Beach’s New Zealand Performance Horses who had three in the top six.
Judge Vaughn Jefferis said the Seven-Year-Old Qualifier had been a very exciting class and one the trio of judges had thoroughly enjoyed.
For full results, head to www.equestrianentries.co.nz