The Melbourne International Three-Day Event was held this weekend and a number of New Zealand horses performed well there – in fact, two took out the top two classes!
Olympian Stuart Tinney won the Pryde’s Easifeed CCI3* on War Hawk, adding no faults to his dressage score. War Hawk was produced by Carolyn Jolley here in New Zealand, and first evented by Katharine Van Tuyl before being sold to the Tinneys. The grey warmblood gelding is by Ramirez out of Connie (Wohler II). Leader after the dressage phase, Judith Clarke on Diablito, was second, with Tegan Lush and Belfast Mojito third. New Zealander Blair Richardson had a bad cross-country fall with Maverick but miraculously neither was hurt.
Waitangi Password, bred by Joss and John Bailey from Waitangi Sporthorses, won the Horseware CCI2* class, ridden by Teegan Ashby. Teegan has had this horse since 2014 and has obviously really clicked with the mare now. She was previously ridden by Dannie Lodder, who competed her mainly at one-star level. The ten-year-old bay warmblood is by For Edition out of Whisper (by Backchat). Teegan brought her over to Taupo 3-Day for the Young Riders Oceania competition in 2015 but had no luck there (and had a dunking in the water jump on cross-country). To win the CCI2* at Melbourne, she completed a personal best in her dressage, and was in 12th place after that phase. She made easy work of the cross-country to move up to fifth, and clear showjumping secured her the win. Teegan is now heading to the UK where she is going to work at William Fox-Pitt’s stables: an incredible opportunity for the talented young rider.
Another featuring in the prize-giving was La Princesse, ridden by Sophie Fox: the pair finished fourth in the CCI1* Junior class. This nine year old mare was bred and produced by Joanne Bridgman and is out of Sophie by Grasshopper. The class was won by Paris Auer on Alchemist. Another New Zealand horse competing at this level was SE Godswalk (with Kattriya McKinnon), previously ridden by Brent Jury and Donna Smith. With 16.8 cross-country time faults, they finished out of the money but were one of only a few combinations to show jump clear.
The Off the Track CCI1* was won by Gemma Tinney on Annapurna. There were more New Zealand horses in this large class (approximately 70 competitors), including Levitation NZPH ridden by Anthony Thomas, who jumped clear in the jumping phases, finishing 18th. Anna Trent previously rode this 17-year-old horse by Cacao Courcelle who has now gone eventing instead of show jumping! LV Elf, previously campaigned by Jessica Woods and now ridden by Madison Simpson, finished 19th. Van Heck, previously campaigned by Rachel Cave with successes at two-star level, had his first big outing with his new rider, Laura Wallace, in this class too, and finished 29th but with a clear cross-country under the time.
There was a CIC3* to give the Olympic hopefuls a run before the Australian team is announced. Shane Rose on CP Qualified won easily on 40.20 from Stuart Tinney on Pluto Mio on 55.10 and Sonja Johnson on Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison on 58.7.