Show jumpers will be out in force this weekend in New Zealand, with many events throughout the country. There are also some big competitions happening overseas, including New Zealand’s Samantha McIntosh competing in the prestigious Global Champions Tour in Rome.
Pukahu & Districts Show
There are good entry numbers at the Pukahu & Districts Show, including plenty in the Grand Prix, competing for the $600 first prize. Youngsters Emily Hayward-Morgan, Georgia Massey and Samantha Morrison will be there, taking on the experienced combinations, including Maurice Beatson, Helen McNaught-McFarlane and Katie Laurie. Husband and wife Simon and Claire Wilson will also be riding; Simon has two horses in, and Claire will be on her beloved McMillan’s Tipsey.
In the Pony Grand Prix, there are 12 combinations going for glory. Sophie Scott will be up from Wellington with Benrose Playtime and Waiotahi Belle and Tyla Hackett is coming down from Waiuku with IamwhatIam. There are also plenty of competitors in the various series classes. Good luck, everyone!
Global Champions Tour
There is a world class line-up of horses and riders for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome. Fresh from the Rio Olympics, the world’s leading show jumping athletes will be in action from September 8-11.
As the overall Champion of Champions battle intensifies, both LGCT ranking leader Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia) and second-placed Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (Sweden) will there. Just 25 points separate these two, and with Rolf the reigning champion of Rome, and rumoured to be bringing his formidable stallion Casall ASK, the LGCT Grand Prix of Rome will undoubtedly prove to be a turning point in the Championship race.
Close behind the leaders on 212 points is young star Bertram Allen (Ireland), who currently sits fourth in the ranking battle, and hot on his heels will be German legend, Ludger Beerbaum (Germany), who has won two Grand Prix events so far this season (Hamburg and Chantilly) and looks to be on incredible form with his recent contribution to a team bronze medal at Rio. Also fresh from Brazil will be the very popular Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (Qatar), who took a stunning sixth place at his Olympic debut. He’ll be joined by other Olympians: John Whitaker (GBR), Ben Maher (GBR), Harrie Smolders (Netherlands), Maikel van der Vleuten (Netherlands), Luciana Diniz (Portugal), and Jérôme Guery (Belgium).
Emanuele Gaudiano, the local hero and only Italian rider at the Olympics, will ride in his home Grand Prix, alongside current World Number 2, Simon Delestre (France), Lauren Hough (USA), Marco Kutscher (Germany), Marcus Ehning (Germany) and Laura Kraut (USA).
The competition will take place at the magnificent Stadio dei Marmi, which was built almost a hundred years ago.
The LGCT Grand Prix takes place on Saturday, and on Sunday the Global Champions League home team, Rome Gladiators, will to do battle with 11 other teams over courses up to 1.50 and 1.55cm.
Sam McIntosh will be part of the Shanghai Swans, the only all-woman team in the league. Her team-mates include Edwina Tops-Alexander, Janne-Friederike Meyer (Germany), Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Alexandra Thornton (UK). The team is currently seventh on the series table. You can check out Sam’s profile for this event on this link.
The ‘Masters’ Tournament runs September 7-11, featuring Friday’s Mercedes-Benz Evening of the Horse, which hosts the exciting ATCO Six Bar competition; the BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday, with teams from around the world competing for top honours; and Sunday’s CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, with a staggering $2 million in prize money.
Course designer for the International Ring is Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, a name well known to New Zealanders through his work at HOY. Leopoldo set the track for 51 starters in the first afternoon’s Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m, with 18 advancing to the jump-off, and 10 double clears. The win went to the fabulously fast Lorenzo de Luca of Italy and Limestone Grey, who stopped the clock at 34.30 seconds. Frank Schuttert (NED) and Winchester HS were second, and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) riding H&M Challenge VD Begijnakker was third.
Steve Guerdat (SUI) took the International Arena’s first win of the day riding the beautiful chestnut mare, Albfuehren’s Happiness, in the 1.50m Telus Cup.
It was Steve’s first-ever victory in Spruce Meadows’ famous ring, and he topped an eight-horse jump-off out of 74 first-round starters.With six double-clear over the short course, USA’s Hardin Towell and SF Ariantha set the pace in 36.86 seconds to eventually finish third. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid were second, Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Callisto fourth.
Happiness, a 10-year-old Danish warmblood mare (Heartbeat x Lambrusco ASK) owned by Hofgut Albführen GmbH, went to Steve as an eight-year-old in 2014 and has become very competitive this year.
“I have built her up slowly,” he explained. “She did not have so much experience when she came to me. Then as a nine-year-old I tried to step her up because she had to learn the job, and this year she has been good. She has won some 2* and 3* Grands Prix and placed in some 1.50m competitions. That is a good height for her – bigger is more difficult for her – but at 1.50m she is very competitive and very fast. She can go fast every day. It was a nice course. We had so many starters, so just eight coming back was quite good.
Steve says that Spruce Meadows is one of his favourite venues. “I love to show here because of the fences, and because of the courses. It is quite tough here and it always takes a few days to get in the rhythm. This is one date that I do not want to miss for anything. Every year, Calgary is one of the big yellow marks on my calendar of the most important places to go. I want to be good here every year and I am trying to achieve my goal.”