The Horselands CCI2* in Adelaide had a nail-biting finish, with show jumping rails flying in many directions.
The victor, after doing one of the few clear rounds under time, was Andrew Barnett from New South Wales on Bradgate Park Dante. He finished on his dressage score, having been fifth after that phase and then moving up to fourth after cross-country.
Katja Weimann finished in second place after dropping one rail; she was second after cross-country too, with a clear round under time. The leader after cross-country and dressage, Gemma Tinney, dropped two rails to finish in third on Annapurna.
Emma Mason and Currabeha came from sixth after cross-country to finish fourth. The biggest mover of the day was Olivia Barton, whose clear show jumping round on the very cute APH Bertie Bad saw her rise from 13th after cross-country to sixth.
Interviewing Andrew after his win proved a challenge, with so many people coming to congratulate him. “This is the highlight of his career, especially as it is our first time to Adelaide,” he said. “It’s great for his owners, John and Bev Healey, who unfortunately couldn’t get here. I am just stoked, he has been such a good little horse to me. I thought he did a great test; it is probably my weakest phase. I am still getting used to the dressage after swapping over from the jumping.”
Bradgate Park Dante is quite an unusual breed in eventing circles, being out of an Appaloosa mare, Allegro Moderato. “He was bred by Bradgate Park just out of Orange in New South Wales. My partner Tasha had ridden their dressage horses for a while. They decided to breed her an eventer and this is the first one. The mare was a lovely little Appaloosa bought out of Orange and crossed to Dutchman.
“He will have a break now, he has had a big year. He has had a couple of three-star starts and so next year he will be right into three-star, and you just never know from thereon.”
New Zealander Laura Wallace on Van Heck finished 16th after four jump and five time faults in the show jumping. Van Heck, now 12, was produced by Rachel Cave in New Zealand and is by Desert Fox out of Escalate, a Success Express mare.
“We were hoping for top-20 finish,” said Laura. “Our partnership is still a bit new – it was about the sixth cross-country I had done on him. In the show jumping he got a bit quick and excited, and I got a bit defensive. I figured at that stage discretion was the better part of valour and would prefer to have time faults than more rails. He is generally quite careful but every so often his excitement gets the better of him. He has quite a few opinions on how he would like life to be. Halting is not his strong point.”
Laura is now planning on starting him in the CCI2* at Wallaby Hill in a few weeks. “It is such a nice track and the ground is great. We are also just up the road. By the time they have done this event and then Wallaby Hill it has really bought them on as two-star horses to go three-star. We would like him to probably start quietly at three-star and perhaps then aim for Sydney and Melbourne.”
Laura has a good team of horses at home as well, including Black Crest who competed with Andrew Cooper in the four-star here last year. “He is currently doing a bit of rehab so should be back next year. I’ve got another two-star who is due to go Advanced and a Pre-Novice horse who is coming on nicely – he was still racing this time last year. There’s also a four-year-old who finished racing two months ago.”