Sarah leads the way at Taupo 3DE

The scoreboards at the NRM National 3DE have been completely rearranged after an action-packed cross-country day at Taupo

Sarah Dalziell-Clout and Benrose Super Star: living up to his name (Image: NZ Horse & Pony)
Sarah Dalziell-Clout and Benrose Super Star: living up to his name (Image: NZ Horse & Pony)

Equestrian Sport NZ’s high performance director put on a high performance of her own today at the NRM National Three-day Event Championship. Sarah Dalziell-Clout and her thoroughbred Benrose Super Star are the surprise leaders of the CCI3* class after an action-packed cross-country day that saw just four clear rounds from the 16 starters.

It was the first three-star start for the pair since last year, thanks to the demands of Sarah’s job, but she’s been able to keep ‘Basil’ fit with the help of a friend hacking him out.

They were fifth after dressage, with a tidy test, and rose to the top of the scoreboard today with just 7.2 time faults. “I was pretty pleased with him, yes,” said Sarah, of the 15-year-old she has had since he was nine, and who she admits is a bit of a nightmare.

If Basil were human, he wouldn’t have any friends. Hes a highly strung, hard-to-keep-weight-on thoroughbred – he bites, pulls back and travels badly – but he is incredibly athletic, agile, gutsy and a superb galloper, who I now know extremely well, so I have learnt to deal with his vices.

Amanda Pottinger relinquished her dressage lead on Just Kidding, coming home 40 seconds over time, but with clear jumping has held on to second spot.

Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding, held on for second place
Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding, held on for second place

Super League winners Katharine Van Tuyl and Double J Sunshine were the fastest of all, despite being held on course, with just 4.8 time faults, but were on a back foot after a less-than-ideal dressage performance yesterday, so could rise no further than third. But Sunny has an exemplary record show jumping, so they could well look forward to an even higher place tomorrow.

Katharine and Double J Sunshine were the fastest clear round
Katharine and Double J Sunshine were the fastest clear round

However, Sarah and Basil are no slouches over the coloured poles, having jumped to Grand Prix level, and have a rail in hand over Katharine, though are just 3.3pen ahead of Amanda.

Samantha Felton was the other clear round, on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, but with 25.6 time faults dropped from second after dressage to fourth.

Robbie MacLean’s track caused problems all over the place for the rest of the three-star field. Dannie Lodder and the usually well-performing Tomahawk II retired after an early run-out at fence 4, and Campbell Draper had the worst luck of all, crashing heavily into a tree between jumps when Mr Mancini spooked at a horse coming in the other direction.

Abby Lawrence retired Song near the end of the track, and Emily Cammock’s Lewis was eliminated for problems at three separate fences.

The combination right out the back, fence 24abc, caused the most trouble, with seven pairs faulting here.

Bates CCI2*

South Island riders are dominating after a tough cross-country day for the two-star riders; from the 24 starters there were just six clear rounds within the time.

Kirsty Sharapoff couldn’t hide her delight with her lovely thoroughbred, Shoot the Breeze (‘Merv’) after scooting around in fine style nine seconds under, and the smile got even broader when she realised she had taken the lead.

Kirsty and Shoot the Breeze shot to the top of the two-star class
Kirsty and Shoot the Breeze shot to the top of the two-star class

“I’m stoked – it’s the first time we’ve been under the time in a two-star. He saved me so many times – I nearly face-planted in the water! He’s a bit of a pony club pony really, super-adjustable and a good honest boy; I just keep kicking.”

Kirsty, from Christchurch, has had quite some success with nine-year-old Merv (Sunray/Sea Nymph), including winning the South Island dressage section of the Thoroughbreds in Equestrian Sport (TiES) series. But she says he’s had problems with stomach ulcers, which she has only recently got under control; in fact she says this event is the first time he’s eaten away at a show.

Sitting a very close second behind her, having added just 1.2 time penalties to his impressive dressage score, is fellow Cantabrian Brent Jury, on another former racehorse. SE Hedging (Royal Gem/Full of Class) was “full of exuberance” after a less than ideal build-up, and Brent says he wasn’t “full of confidence” that the seven-year-old was ready for such a big challenge.

Brent Jury and SE Hedging, full of exuberance! (Image: NZ Horse & Pony)
Brent Jury and SE Hedging, full of exuberance! (Image: NZ Horse & Pony)

But ‘Hedgy’ was super-cool over a track that Brent describes as “big, bold and beautiful”. He was particularly worried about the combination of corners, but the pair nailed it.

Brent says he’d love to progress the horse to three-star, but admits he gets as “nervous as hell”. Although he thinks show jumping is Hedgy’s weakest phase, no matter what happens tomorrow he will be thrilled with the horse’s performance.

Another rider to impress today was Juliet Wood, riding with typically understated elegance. She and Waitangi Pinterest were home clear and nine seconds under time, to pull up from eighth after dressage to third.

Big smiles from Juliet Wood after a lovely round from Waitangi Pinterest
Big smiles from Juliet Wood after a lovely round from Waitangi Pinterest

The first combination at fence 4, a big table to a corner under the trees, caused the most grief, with a number of horses running out at the b-element.

Dressage leaders Megan Finlayson and Greensleeves were fine here, but unfortunately for them had 20 penalties going into the water.

Fiber Fresh CCI1*

A six-year-old mare in just her third one-star start is leading the super-competitive one-star championship class for Angela Lloyd. Lyrical is a half-sister to Angela’s former Advanced mare, Song, being out of the TB Bjork, by Landioso, and has been beautifully produced by the hard-working Angela.

“I thought it was a tough track for young horses, so I set out thinking I’d see how she goes, but she got better and better as she went around… she just ate the course!” Angela said.

Angela Lloyd and Lyrical, who 'ate up' the track
Angela Lloyd and Lyrical, who ‘ate up’ the track (Image: NZ Horse & Pony)

She and Lyrical were sitting pretty in second after a beautiful dressage performance yesterday, and came home three seconds under the optimum time over Nick Pyke’s track, taking all the straight-through options and looking particularly impressive through the water.

Dressage leaders Vicki Browne-Cole and Eli had an unfortunate 20 penalties to drop right down the order, while Sam Felton and the extremely cute part-Connemara Nochraha have leapt up to second spot with a super-speedy clear, 12 seconds under time, with Lauren Alexander third on Classic Indigo.

Sam Felton and the super-cute Nochraha, who zipped into second
Sam Felton and the super-cute Nochraha, who zipped into second (Image: NZ Horse & Pony)

Just 13 of the 45 cross-country starters were double clear, with a further 16 home clear but with time faults. There’s very little in it though, with Angela just 2pen ahead of Sam, and Lauren very close behind her.

Wairakei CCN105 Championship

Two beautiful chestnut former racehorses are in first and second in the Pre-Novice title class after cross-country. Kelsey Leahy’s Show Cause (Giant’s Causeway/Showella) has a 1.8pen lead from Kylee McCambridge and Chicago (Pentire/Turtle Creek).

Kelsey Leahy & Show Cause lead the CCN105 Championship. Image Take the Moment Photography
Kelsey Leahy & Show Cause lead the CCN105 Championship. (Image Take the Moment Photography)

And another racehorse, Chanel Hargrave’s Moving On, is in third, showing that these equine athletes more than hold their own at all levels of the sport.

Dressage leader Amanda Pottinger had an unfortunate 20 penalties with Blytheburn Maximo, to drop right out of contention, and Dannie Lodder had a bad day at the office with her second- and third-placed rides, incurring jumping and time penalties with both of them.

Results (after cross-country)

NRM CCI3*: Sarah Dalziell-Clout, Benrose Super Star, 52.1, 1; Amanda Pottinger, Just Kidding, 46.6, 2; Katharine Van Tuyl, Double J Sunshine, 65.8, 3; Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, 74.7, 4; Danielle Wheeler, One Cool Dude, 90.8, 5; Renee Faulkner, Rubinstar HH, 94.2, 6.

Bates CCI2*: Kirsty Sharapoff, Shoot the Breeze, 51.9, 1; Brent Jury, SE Hedging, 52.1, 2; Juliet Wood, Waitangi Pinterest, 53.2, 3; Jackson Bovill, Visionnaire, 53.6, 4; Virginia Thompson, Man of Honour, 54.6, 5; Abigail Long, Enzo, 55.8, 6.

Fiber Fresh CCI1*: Angela Lloyd, Lyrical, 45.5, 1; Samantha Felton, Nochraha, 47.5, 2; Lauren Alexander, Classic Indigo, 48.3, 3; Karla Wilson, Stoney Mara, 49.3, 4; Dannie Lodder, Eon, 49.7, 5; Ellie Braddock, Braxton Boy, 51.7, 6.

Wairakei CCN105 Championship: Kelsey Leahy, Show Cause, 30.4, 1; Kylee McCambridge, Chicago, 32.2, 2; Chanel Hargrave, Moving On, 33.6, 3=, Kyle Calder, Apteryx, 33.6, 3=, Gracie O’Leary, Willesden Green, 33.7, 5; Donna Edwards-Smith, Sunset Pass, 33.8, 6.

AMS Saddlery CCI1* Open: Frank Phillips, I Told You So, 52.8, 1; Gemma Hampson, Just Imagine That, 57.4, 2; Shannon Galloway, Airthrey Jean Genie, 57.6, 3; Georgia Bennett, Johnny Castle, 59.4, 4.

Wade CCN105 Open: Helen Wither, Woodbine Just in Case, 29, 1; Cherie Jacques, Black Gem, 29.9, 2; Shannon Galloway, Day Walker, 32.9, 3; Susan Le Measurer, Lightman, 35, 4.