It’s been 16 long years since anybody has achieved back-to-back victories in the three-star at Puhinui, but Virginia Thompson and her mare Star Nouveau have now cemented their places in the event’s illustrious history, with their second consecutive win in the Honda NZ CCI3*.
Ginny and ‘Paige’ have previously struggled somewhat in the final phase, but have obviously put a lot of work into their show jumping, and it showed today. They had a cushion of a single rail over Samantha Felton and Ricker Ridge Escada, and when Sam took out the vertical in the treble combination, that increased to a two-rail margin.
The pair set out quietly, and once over the bogey liverpool fence – an oxer at number three that all in the class but Sam up until then had down – both seemed to relax. The smallest of rubs for the rail down at the second-to-last fence didn’t matter, as they sealed their win on a score of 65.
It was a decisive victory for the popular full-time rider, who is based in Kaukapakapa, and who kept her nerve in what was an extremely pressurised situation.
“Her show jumping has improved out of sight – we’ve worked very, very hard,” says Ginny, who bought the mare four years ago, at one-star level.
She’s now aiming at a couple of three-stars in Australia next year, with selection for the trans-Tasman team a strong goal, and all things going well, a tilt at the four-star in Adelaide next November.
Sam and ‘Toby’ were not far behind, on 69.1 penalties after the three days. It seems both Sam and her 11-year-old Tobougg thoroughbred gelding have grown immensely in confidence since their trip to Australia this spring, as they pieced together three mature performances for their best result to date at three-star.
Next season, Sam hopes to step her two Intermediate horses up a level, so will potentially have an unprecedented four at Advanced, and she too will be aiming for trans-Tasman selection and – funds permitting – a four-star start at Adelaide.
Donna Edwards-Smith had nothing but admiration for her golden boy, DSE Mr Hokey Pokey today, third in his first CCI3*, even with an uncharacteristic two show jumping rails down. “He tried his heart out,” she said.
Abby Lawrence and Song dropped from third position to fourth today, with three rails down, and both Renee Faulkner and Brent Jury had two rails each, to complete in fifth and sixth spots, with the scores all very close.
Show jumping went well on the whole for the riders in the iSpyHorses CCI2* today, though poor Abby Lawrence had a bad time of it with an overly-enthusiastic Charlton Yamani, dropping five rails to relinquish first-equal spot.
Meanwhile co-leader, the ebullient Pioneer Brass Monkey, looked like he wanted to go around the cross country again with Ashleigh McKinstry, and bounced over all the fences cleanly, to take the win on his dressage score of 47.9.
Ashleigh says it’s particularly special to have a win on a horse who is both home-bred and produced. “You’ve been with them throughout all the highs and the lows.”
The 16.1hh Monkey got his name as he was a right monkey as a foal, she says, and remains very quirky, but clearly loves his job. He is out of Ginger Nut, the same 13.2hh Kaimanawa mare as Ashleigh’s former three-star horse, Pioneer Makokomiko, and by the McKinstry family’s quarter Clyde, 3/4 TB stallion, Pioneer Arogon.
Ashleigh hopes to step him up to three-star level in the autumn.
Dannie Lodder and the impressive Balmoral Henton (Contendro I/Distancia) were second, after their clear round elevated them from fourth spot, and Madison Crowe had a rail with Waitangi Pinterest (Cassiano/Amberlou) but held third.
Heelen Tompkins was clear with the inexperienced but talented grey TB Snow Leopard (His Royal Highness), to rise from sixth to fourth, and Samantha Felton was the big mover, up from 12th after dressage to fifth on another TB by His Royal Highness, Ricker Ridge Divine Right, with double clear jumping rounds.
In the Young Rider CCI2*, Lucy Turner had three rails in hand by the time she came to show jump with Carbon (Drums of Time/Chic Bella), and used two of them, but it was still a great win for the Christchurch teenager, after such a long journey. Abigail Long was clear on Enzo to jump into second place, as Maria van Kuijk had withdrawn Antara Whiskey Mac at the trot-up.
The importance of clean show jumping was starkly apparent in the Veterinary Associates CCI1*, where tired horses after their cross-country exertions the day before saw rails tumbling, round after round.
In the end, only four of the 23 managed clear rounds, and all of them moved up as a result. The winner was Andy Daines and Giocattolo, a nine-year-old NZ sporthorse by Omkara, owned by Alaina Thompson. The pretty grey looked as fresh as a daisy, and was ridden well to finish the three days on his dressage score of 47.7.
Unfortunately for Angela Lloyd, it wasn’t her day over the coloured poles, with two down on Lyrical seeing her drop from first to fifth place.
Samantha Felton on another lovely grey, the 10-year-old Connemara-TB cross Nochraha, owned by James Twigg, had a super clear too, to rise from fifth after cross-country to second.
Donna Edwards-Smith and Bryce Newman each had a rail on DSE Cluny and Bates Our Entourage, but held on to third and fourth spots respectively, and Chanel Campbell had a rail with Astek Guardsman to drop from fourth to sixth.
Only 12 of the original 18 starters in the DEVI Heating Systems CCI*J went through to complete the three days, and of them, just two show jumped clear.
The first of these was Samuel Amon on his Clydie-TB cross Trojan Warrior, and he climbed all the way up from 10th to fourth as a result.
Sophie Alexander, sitting third on World Famous, a warmblood by Worldwide, had a rail but retained her place. Then second-placed Beth Wilson put pressure on the leader with a beautifully-ridden clear on Alto et Audax, a seven-year-old Irish Sporthorse by Northwood Jet Stream who was bred by Imogen Neale and produced by Beth’s coach, Angela Lloyd.
But Vicki Browne-Cole, who had led the class right from dressage day on her little grey thoroughbred (Snitzel/Kelly Song), had a rail in hand. It didn’t look like she’d need it, as she got all the way around to the second-to-last fence, including the tricky combinations, without looking like touching a pole, but a rub at the oxer by the judge’s truck saw them on four faults.
NZ Horse & Pony CCN105
Alex Anderson had a rail in hand with her 11-year-old imported Belgian warmblood Gina VT Bloemenhof at the top of the scoreboard in the NZ Horse & Pony CCN105, and needed it today. Alex, from Taupo, was thrilled with the win, and finished 1.1pen ahead of second-placed Sarah Young and Equador MW, who jumped clear and finished on his dressage score. The five-year-old NZ sporthorse (Escudo/Gina) was bred by Mary Wilson.
Hayley Pickmere and her 13-year-old TB Makers Mark (Istidaad/Whiskey Girl) show jumped clear to finish third, 1.2pen ahead of Maddie MacLean and her little pinto, The Space Cadet.
Donna Edwards-Smith moved all the way up from 13th after dressage with her recently off-the track DSE Sunset Pass (Yamanin Vital/Janet’s Chance) to fifth place, with double clear jumping.
Rounding up the top six was Rene Ryall and the evergreen Boots And All, who at the grand old age of 20 still has what it takes.
Fiber Fresh CCN95
The top five after cross country all show jumped clear today in the Fiber Fresh CCN95cm, in fact 23 in total of the 35 left in the class did so most commendably, so there was very little change in the scoreboard.
Leisa Keightley and her eight-year-old TB gelding Black Attire (Pentire/Cent For Me) finished on their dressage score and with the winner’s rug. Christen Lane and Henton Armada (Anamour/Show Stoppa) were second, on an equal penalty score with Lisa Chapple and Stiloso Whataretheodds, who were third. Emily Wright and Midnight Blue (Val D’Arno/Evita) were fourth, and Cameron Boon and Esperanza Power Trip, a Clydie-TB cross, fifth.
Jeffery Amon was the only rider in the top six to drop a rail, which was unfortunate for him and Matches, and they dropped to 11th as a result.
In the meantime, Jessica Woods and LV Balou Skye were clear, so were elevated to sixth.
Results: 2016 Puhinui International Horse Trials
Honda NZ CCI3*
Virginia Thompson, Star Nouveau, 65, 1; Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Escada, 69.1, 2; Donna Edwards-Smith, DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, 80.3, 3; Abby Lawrence, Song, 81, 4; Renee Faulkner, Rubinstar HH, 82, 5; Brent Jury, SE Hedging, 85.4, 6.
Ashleigh McKinstry, Pioneer Brass Monkey, 47.9, 1; Dannie Lodder, Balmoral Henton, 50.6, 2; Madison Crowe, Waiting Pinterest, 54.2, 3; Heelan Tompkins, Snow Leopard, 61.4, 4; Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Divine Right, 62.7, 5; Lauren Alexander, Classic Indigo, 64.4, 6.
Honda NZ CCI2* Young Rider
Lucy Turner, Carbon, 60.2, 1; Abigail Long, Enzo, 67.2, 2; Sarah Young, Leo Degas, 70.6, 3.
Veterinary Associates CCI*
Andrew Daines, Giacattolo, 47.7, 1; Samantha Felton, Nochraha, 51.3, 2; Donna Edwards-Smith, DSE Cluny, 52.6, 3; Bryce Nerman, Bates Our Entourage, 53.2, 4; Angela Lloyd, Lyrical, 53.8, 5; Chanel Campbell, Astek Guardsman, 55.6, 6; Bryce Newman, Bates Games Keeper, 58.1, 7; Kimberley Gill, Ricker Ridge Rodstar, 60.8, 8; Jessica Woods, LV Balou Jeanz, 62.1, 9; Elise Edwards-Smith, DSE Mendoza, 62.3, 10.
DEVI Heating Systems CCI*J
Vicky Browne-Cole, Eli, 48, 1; Beth Wilson, Alto et Audax, 51.4, 2; Sophie Alexander, World Famous, 55.8, 3; Samuel Amon, Trojan Warrior, 57.4, 4; Katrina Butler Gallie, Tarndale Endeavour, 57.4, 5; Fenella Carter, Absolou, 57.5, 6.
NZ Horse & Pony CCN105
Alex Anderson, 27.4, 1; Sarah Young, Equador MW, 28.5, 2; Hayley Pickmere, Makers Mark, 30.6, 3; Maddie MacLean, The Space Cadet, 31.8, 4; Donna Edwards-Smith, DSE Sunset Pass, 32, 5; Rene Ryall, Boots and All, 33, 6; Aleisha Collett, Beaumont Dzire SW, 33.1, 7; Susan Le Mesurier, Lightman, 33.4, 8; Kari Wratten-Lower, Jacs Ladd, 33.5, 9; Sarah Bleakley, El Novio, 33.7, 10.
Fiber Fresh CCN95
Leisa Keightley, Black Attire, 27, 1; Christen Lane, Henton Armada, 29.5, 2; Lisa Chapple, Stiloso Whataretheodds, 29.5, 3; Emily Wright, Midnight Blue, 30.5, 4; Cameron Boon, Esperanza Power Trip, 30.6, 5; Jessica Woods, LV Balou Skye, 31.1, 6; Sam Doak, Showtym Capital, 31.5, 7; Molly O’Leary, Willesden Green, 33.8, 8; Lily Webber, Moonwalker, 34, 9; Martha Hudson, Monte Cervino, 34, 10.