Lily Tootill spent the last day of her teenage years beating some of the biggest guns in New Zealand show jumping, with a stunning victory in the penultimate round of the Country TV World Cup (NZ series) in Dannevirke this afternoon.
The 19-year-old Aucklander guided her beloved Ulysses NZPH to two lovely clear rounds, to take the win by 1.3 seconds in the 18-strong class over Samantha Morrison (Tauranga) and Biarritz who was also double clear at the Central and Southern Hawke’s Bay Show Jumping and Show Hunter Championships.
Series leader Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) and Carnutelabryere had to settle for third, finishing with four faults from the two rounds, with 17-year-old Emily Hayward-Morgan (Te Awamutu) and AP Ninja taking fourth spot in their first-ever World Cup start.
Clean slates were thin on the ground in the first round over the Roger Laplanche-designed course, with the young guns and their chestnuts the only ones to pull it off – Lily and Ulysses NZPH (owned by Theresa Gattung and Tootill Equestrian) and Samantha on Biarritz both rode brave clears, leaving far more experienced combinations to tally up their rails.
The second round, comprising just nine fences, seemed a little kinder, with seven of the 11 combinations going clear.
Lily and Ulysses NZPH were second to last to go and put all the pressure in the world on Sam and Biarritz with their slick and speedy round.
Before them, Helen McNaught-McFarlane and Emily Hayward-Morgan had done the same with their clears, to sit on four faults each from the two rounds.
But the day belonged to Lily. “This is just such a big deal . . . not just to me, but to everyone involved,” she said, thanking her parents Cindy Mitchener and Jon Tootill, co-owner Theresa Gattung and the horse’s breeders, New Zealand Performance Horses. “I just love this horse . . . it is ridiculous!”
Lily admitted that she was aiming to “just get through the flags” after walking the first round course. “The second half of it was pretty ginormous. Then going into the second round, I was confident that Sam would go faster than me. I honestly didn’t think we had a chance of winning.”
Things nearly came unstuck when they nudged the second of the double but thankfully it stayed up.
“I have had so much help to get to this point, particularly from the McVean and Laurie families,” Lily said.
She has spent time in the UK riding with William and Pippa Funnell, and in Australia, where she trained with Rod Brown. In New Zealand her trainers are Jacque Williams, who she has been with since she rode ponies, and Robert Steele.
Nine-year-old Ulysses NZPH – ‘Ronald’ to his friends – has been with the family for two years. He came with the name Ron but Lily, a die-hard Harry Potter fan, said his personality was more akin to a Ronald . . . like Ronald Weasley.
And while she may be entering her twenties tomorrow, there will be no concessions. She will still be up at 6am to feed and work her own horses before heading to Matawhio Sport Horses where another 10-12 await her efforts.
Fittingly, Lily and Ronald won the NZPH-sponsored prize for the best-placed first-season World Cup horse, with Emily and AP Ninja picking up the Betavet-sponsored one for the second best-placed first-season horse.
Lily and Ronald also took out the FMG Young Rider class.
The grand final of the prestigious World Cup series will be decided on Sunday (January 15) at the Continental Cars Audi World Cup Festival, which will be hosted by Show Jumping Waitemata at Woodhill Sands in Auckland. The series has produced five different winners from the five rounds, and with just the best four results to count from each rider, it is stacking up to be a nail-biting finish.
New Zealand’s best show jumpers are fighting it out for series honours as well as the right to represent the nation at the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2016/2017 Final in Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States, from March 29-April 1, 2017.
Country TV World Cup (NZ series) – fifth of six rounds: Lily Tootill (Auckland) Ulysses NZPH 1, Samantha Morrison (Tauranga) Biarritz 2, Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) Carnutelabryere 3, Emily Hayward-Morgan (Te Awamutu) AP Ninja 4, Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) Ultra Blue NZPH 5, Lucy Fell (Opiki) Tinapai 6.
Equissage John Gilliland Memorial Pony Grand Prix: Olivia Ahlborn (Napier) Aorangi Ragtime 1, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Fun House 2, Deanna Horsburgh (Cambridge) Showtym Endeavour 3, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Phantom Warrior 4, Ally Carson (Putaruru) Tiger Tale LS 5, Olivia Dalton (Auckland) Simply Samantha HH 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Lily Tootill (Auckland) Ulysses NZPH (owned by Theresa Gattung and Tootill Equestrian) 1, Georgia Massie (Dannevirke) Larinium LS 2, Emily Hayward-Morgan (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 3, Annabel Francis (Canterbury) Glenara Vintage Rose 4, Emily Fraser (Bulls) Kiwi Sunray 5, Olivia Dalton (Auckland) Appleton 6.
Lincoln University Junior Rider Series: Emily Hayward-Morgan (Te Awamutu) Wasabi 1, Greta van den Brink (Auckland) Silver Lady 2, Matt Irvine (Takapau) Wall Street III 3, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 4, Olivia Dalton (Auckland) Bling du Rouet 5, Georgia Percy (Wairarapa) Lowenbehold 6.
Let’s Bale Pro Amateur Rider Series: William Lyles (Turangi) Jack The Lad 1, Kristina O’Donnell (Palmerston North) Late Lunch 2, Sally Clark (Dannevirke) Victoria’s Secret 3, Amanda Pottinger (Hawke’s Bay) Just Kidding 4, Holly Morrell (Taupo) Pampero 5, Monica Oakley (Waipukurau) Astek Napoleon 6.
Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider Series: Graeme Isaacson (Dannevirke) Pokere 1, Laura Knight (Palmerston North) Allouette 2, Rachel Martin (Hawke’s Bay) Finnesse 3, Laura McGregor (Auckland) LC Bergla 4, Noni Morgan (Hawke’s Bay) Secret Keeper 5, Glen Hicks (Hastings) Kiwi Hope 6.
Cortaflex Seven-Year-Old Series: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Intellect 1, Leeshelle Snall (Ramarama) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 2, Melody Matheson (Hawke’s Bay) Graffiti MH 3, Daniel Webb (Hunterville) Cardo 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Gold Locks 5, Stephen Nickalls (Rangiotu) Letino 6.
Mitavite Six-Year-Old Series: Robert Steele (Dannevirke) Delta Blue, Karen Bruce (Wairarapa) Double J Breeze On, Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Dora, Ally Carson (Putaruru) Letano, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Roman Warrior, Tracy Mason (Napier) WP Stella and Danielle Maurer (Auckland) Yalambis Gucci Girl =1.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Central Park, Monica Oakley (Waipukurau) Festival, Dirk Waldin (Havelock North) Good Time, Ashley Hart (Hastings) Kiwi Cheroso, Karen Bruce (Wairarapa) Double J Promise =1.
Main-Events University Series: Rebecca Porter (Hastings) Mr Harrison 1, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 2, Lucy Rowe (Palmerston North) Samalu 3, Sophie Collins (Wanganui) Ngahiwi Potion 4, Lily Tootill (Auckland) Dollar Girl MS 5, Emily Fraser (Bulls) Voila 6.