What a great finish to one of the prestigious events at the Horse of the Year. The first round of the Norwood Gold Cup really tested the competitors to the max! There were a couple of unlucky rails, notably Karen Niederer on Cape Palliser who just tapped the second element of the second double and it came down, marring a very lovely round. However, seven riders did post clears, so it was a good jump-off. Dunstan On the Point Sandy with Katie McVean was first to go, but things didn’t go the mare’s way, with two down.
Olivia Robertson was next up and Ngahiwi Cisco showed how reliable and consistent he is, by jumping clear with a good time.
The rest of the field had to beat her and they gave it their best effort but all had at least one rail. A P Ninja and 16-year-old Emily Hayward-Morgan looked like they had the cup in their grasp with a cracking time, but the last fence came down. Clarke Johnstone’s impressive bay Quainton Labyrinth was giving every jump plenty of space, and making the most economical turns, but the second element of the double was their undoing and it was a rail down and a slower time than Emily. Oliver Edgecombe with his lovely Ultra Blue NZPH had just the one rail, and Conyers with Maurice Beatson had two.
So, it was Olivia’s Norwood Gold Cup this year and she was beaming from ear to ear, as was her mother Jan Hunt, who serves on the Board of ESNZ Jumping. Olivia has been a consistent performer all season, continuing her good results from last year which included the HOY 2015 Young Rider title.
We expect to see a lot more of this young woman in the future. She’s the daughter of an All Black, and that grit and determination, plus a bit of talent and a good work ethic, will keep her in the winners’ circle.