After her great win at Kihikihi, Katharine Van Tuyl has not only extended her lead in the ESNZ Eventing Super League, but now can’t be headed off, no matter what happens at the final event, the NRM CCI3* at the Taupo Three-day Event, May, 12-15. To see the standings after the eight events in the league so far, please go to the end of this article.
British weather blues
While eventing attention here in New Zealand was focused on Kihikihi this weekend, there was plenty of action over in the UK, although not as much as our eventers there would have liked, due to the weather and cancellations.
Late last week, Andrew Nicholson won a novice at Portman on Zacarius and Jock Paget was fourth in the same class on Zazu – and this was captured on video from Harveywetdog
Jock took Zazu out for another run in the weekend at Larkhill and won the Novice section there, with a dressage score of 16! Jonelle was third in another Novice class on Jacksonlyn and then won another with Obos Impressive. Husband Tim won a BE100 on Falco IV finishing on his dressage score of 19.3. Jesse Campbell had May Ryloa, a youngster, out in the BE100 and came fifth with Neil Spratt on First Lancer sixth in the same class. Dan Jocelyn was also there, and had a third on Diamond Louie and a fifth on Fjury in a BE100.
Weston Park was nearly a wash-out but the organisers went to amazing lengths to continue the event despite the weather. Many withdrew, including Andrew Nicholson and Jock Paget. It was interesting to see Oliver Townend continue his very good form. What is even more interesting is that many of his wins and good placings are on horses that Andrew has produced or ridden but has passed on to his good friend Ollie as he has decreased the size of his team after his injury last year. Ollie won an Open Intermediate class on Ulises, and was second on MHS King Joules in an Advanced class. He was also second on Armada in another Advanced section, but of course has successfully ridden this ex-Nicholson horse for some years. Ollie had been entered in Rolex Kentucky on Black Tie, but has recently withdrawn the horse. This means there will be very few British riders competing at the prestigious 4*.
Blyth Tait was one of the few who pushed on despite the weather and had a fifth on Carin in the Open Novice section.
William Fox-Pitt had a nasty fall on Parklane Hawk but both were okay. You can watch video of the main Advanced class on this link – no Kiwis, but you’ll see what happens to WFP at about 10.3 minutes into it.
The Prices had planned on competing at the South Of England but that plan was thwarted by the English weather, with the event being one of many cancelled. Tim had hoped to run his Rolex Kentucky-bound horses there, but ended up going show jumping instead.
Lucy Jackson is doing a guest blog for Badminton Horse Trials. She will be competing on Bosun, and you can read her blog on this link. Talking of Badminton, the wait list is still waiting. Megan Heath and Dan Jocelyn are still preparing as if they will get in – which they should, going on history. Megan is currently fourth on the list with Dan ninth. You can read about our Badminton preview of the Kiwi riders on this link.
Lizzie Brown has just sold her lovely mare Cinque Terre but is developing her young team again, with the latest addition being Springhill All Black. Her only upper-level horse is eight-year-old Havanna Van’t Casteanahof who is currently competing at 2*, soon to be 3*, and showing some promise. Her top horses from the last few seasons were Princeton II and Henton Attorney General. Princeton has been sold to the USA and is going very well there, and Henton Attorney General has now retired from the big time and is teaching a young rider some tricks.
Coming up this weekend is the Belton Horse Trials, which is the first leg of the Tri Star Grand Slam. Most of the top Kiwi riders will have their A team there, and Balmoral Sensation have his first UK start. It is live-streamed with cross-country action on both Saturday and Sunday. Check out the website for more details.
Meanwhile, on the Mainland
Here in New Zealand, it is the South Island Three-Day Event at McLeans Island this weekend. While entries are very disappointing at the top levels, there will be nearly 200 horses competing at McLeans Island. It is good to see some North Islanders are making the trek down and we will bring you lots of coverage of the action there.
The event boasts top class officials. Anne Tylee (Palmerston North) heads in the ground jury for the CIC3* and CCI classes with Mura Love (Christchurch) and they will be joined by Colonel Dushyant from India in the CCI classes.
Vital points will also be up for grabs across nearly all of the ESNZ series including the NRM Young Rider, PGG Wrightson Junior Rider, Equestrian Entries Pro Am, PEL by Trutest Amateur Rider and Equestrifit StrapX Grassroots series.
Eventing Canterbury chair Margaret Evans said they were delighted to welcome so many riders from outside Canterbury to the event, including nine combinations from the North Island. Evans said the course designers as well as all the committee had been working extremely hard to provide an exciting and enjoyable competition for riders, and spectators alike.
Action is set to get underway at 1pm on Thursday, April 14 with the prestigious Saddlery Barn South Island Young Event Horse Championship which has fielded 19 starters. New to this competition will be the NZ Thoroughbred Racing Award for the highest placed thoroughbred.
The first phase of the three-day-event, dressage, will get underway at 9.30am on Friday after the first fitness inspection, followed by the all-important cross country phase at 9am on Saturday. The event comes to conclusion with the final show jumping designed by Geoff Bryant scheduled to begin at 10am on Sunday.
ESNZ EVENTING SUPER LEAGUE
Standings after eight events:
Katharine Van Tuyl (Palmerston Nth), Double J Sunshine, 264 pts; Clarke Johnstone (Matangi/UK), Balmoral Sensation, 174 pts; Virginia Thompson (Kaukapakapa), Star Nouveau, 102 pts; Andy Daines (Kumeu), Spring Panorama, 96 pts; Dannie Lodder (Papakura), Tomahawk II, 42 pts; Amanda Pottinger (Waipukurau), Just Kidding, 42 pts; Diane Gilder (Matangi), Your Attorney, 42 pts; Giles Gormack (Rangiora), Lucero, 42 pts.