A beautiful new venue with beautiful new jumps has got the New Zealand equestrian crowd gushing and raving. The Takapoto Estate Show Jumping show in Cambridge started on Thursday and finishes on Sunday and is proving to be a real hit with riders, photographers and spectators.
The two arenas, the Bellevue Main Arena and the APL Arena both have acclaimed course builders with Gerrit Beker (Tauranga) designing the courses in the main arena and Pip Howells in the APL Arena. Entries are very strong, with the timing being perfect for riders to prepare for Horse of the Year. Some of the South Islanders have included it in their HOY travel plans, including World Cup series winner Rose Alfeld.
Yesterday, the Gold Tour Horse 1.4m Qualifier lived right up to its hype and turned into a good old New Zealand versus Aussie battle but in the end the Kiwis won, with Tom Tarver-Priebe and Popeye riding off with the spoils. Fifty-one started the class with 10 coming back for the jump-off. Tom was first out in a rather star-stacked jump-off which included Olympians and New Zealand’s young guns. He laid down a mighty challenge, going double clear in 45.74 seconds. Katie Laurie aboard Casebrooke Lomond, Tegan Fitzsimon on Double J Monarch, Nakeysha Lammers on Resolution and Clarke Johnstone on Quainton Labyrinth followed, but all had rails. Australian visitors Stuart Jenkins and Fair Aliquidam gave it their best shot and, while clear, couldn’t quite match the time, stopping the clock at 48.16 and taking second place. Rails then fell for Aussie visitor Brooke Langbecker aboard Quintago I, with Lily Tootill and Ulysses NZPH going clear in 48.82 to slot into third. Rose Alfeld and My Super Nova had a rail to finish fourth.
Tom is rapt with the result. “I would have been happy with two clear rounds and qualifying for Sunday’s final – I certainly didn’t back myself to win,” he says. He’s had the horse for about a year, with fiancée Lucia Voss riding him first and Tom taking over part-way through the season. “I was a bit worried in the first round, as it is just my second big track on him – I am very happy.” He plans to take the horse to Australia to compete at the end of the New Zealand season.
Twenty-one combinations on four faults or less will come back for the final on Sunday.
In the Ponies 1.15m two-phase class, Emma Watson didn’t even think she was going ‘that fast’ for the jump-off, but she and her consistent roany pony Maddox Fun House were 3.29 seconds faster than runner-up Rylee Sheehan aboard Galaxy Samurai. “She is just jumping super,” says Emma. “We’re just making the most of our time together.” The Morrinsville combination, who have a clear lead in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series, are loving the new Takapoto Estate Show. “It’s incredible. The course was so open and flowing out there,” says Emma.
Pieta Milne and BG Lennox came in for third with their double clear in 37.08 seconds, with Breanna Young aboard Delvay Pegasus fourth in 38.21, Olivia Harkerss and Cocomo fifth in 39.1, Emma-Kate Wilson on Envious Edition sixth in 39.71, Sophia Hall aboard Taylor Made Gift seventh in 42.73 and Olivia Apatu eighth with four faults in 36.2.
The 1.3m two-phase class was super-tight with just .64 of a second between the top three but in the end, the day belonged to Nick Brooks and For Fame. The Cambridge combo were all clear, coming home in 33.13. Fellow eventer Kate Herdson and Eon were second in 33.42 with Chloe Hansen and Letitbe GNZ third in 33.77.
Vanessa Veart-Smith from Auckland had a long wait before being announced the winner of the 1.1m two-phase class. Seventy-two started, with 18 all clear and inside time. Vanessa was double clear on Jedi Skywalker in 21.81 seconds with Georgina Forsyth (Auckland) and Joia Hara second in 22.25, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) and Fiber Fresh Casallita third in 23.22, Kelsey Leahy (Cambridge) and Showcause fourth in 23.67, Joanne Bridgeman (Cambridge) on Junior fifth in 24.23 and Michaela Kennedy (Cambridge) rounding out the top six with her 24.24 time aboard Smoken Up.
Leeshelle Small didn’t dare get her hopes up that she and AMS Ajaccio NZPH could take out the Silver Horse Tour 1.3m Qualifier, but they needn’t have worried as they headed home the 61-strong field in style. The Ramarama teen was one of 17 clears, stopping the clock at 70.91 seconds. “It was beautiful out there,” she says. “Everything flowed well and came up so good. I was early in the class and didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I just had to wait.” Second was Chloe Hansen (Palmerston North) aboard Kiwi Motto in 71.26 seconds, with Katie Laurie and On the Point Sandy third in 71.75, Samantha Peters (Northland) on Zabambi fourth in 72, Paula Mussen (Pukekohe) and KK Tane Mahuta fifth in 73.52, Christine Cornege (Cambridge) and Vaekai SL sixth I 75.22, Karen Riddle (Rotorua) on LC Telepathy seventh on 75.86 and Rachel Malcolm (Cambridge) aboard Monte Carlo MVNZ eighth in 76.77.
Today will feature the finals of the four-, five-, six- and seven-year-old breeders’ classes. Fifty-one combinations – with 12 faults and less – will come back for the Silver Tour Final, so it promises to be a great day’s jumping.