A final-day victory for the Kiwis in the Trans-Tasman Young Rider Test at the Larsen Sawmilling Show Jumping Championships in Gisborne was not quite enough to give New Zealand the overall win, but it certainly made the defeat all the more palatable.
Australia headed into the final day unable to be beaten but that didn’t stop the New Zealand riders from giving it their all on the third day of competition.
Briar Burnett-Grant aboard Dollar Girl MS (owned by Matawhio Stud), Harry Feast aboard Dunstan Springfield (owned by Katie Laurie and Sarah Milne) and Nakeysha Lammers on Lansbury Grosve (owned by the Irvine family) all went double clear in the final two rounds, with Lily Tootill and Kitchwa (owned by Ella Davison) having a single unlucky rail in the first, but all clear in the second.
For the Aussies, Jasmine Dennison aboard Cadbury (owned by Rick Shanks) and Madeline Sinderberry aboard Mosaic II (owned by Vicky Ridley) finished with clear slates, with Mitchell Peulic and Delta Fasteuex (owned by Oliver Croucher) adding eight faults and Stephanie MacKillop on Ake Ake (owned by Amy Gravatt) picking up eight and four over the two rounds.
With just the best three rounds to count, it left the Aussies with four faults from the two rounds and the Kiwis all clear. The run of clears also meant two bonus points for the hosts, while the visitors picked up one for their efforts in the opening round today.
But in the end, the Australians won the test 10 points to six.
Chefs d’equipe Kaye Williams (New Zealand) and Becky Jenkins (Australia) were chuffed with all of their riders.
“It was really a fabulous day,” said Kaye. “Everything went well for us today. Our riders had to grunt it out today, show some face and win . . . and they did that very well.”
It was a day of firsts for the winners of both the Bayleys Real Estate Horse Grand Prix and Equissage Pony Grand Prix. Daniel Blundell had his first horse Grand Prix victory with Lavello (owned by the Rennell family), an 11-year-old gelding by Littorio and out of dressage rider Louisa Hill’s Olympic horse Gabana. While the horse was bred for dressage, Daniel says he simply did not want to do that discipline!
Lavello won the 5YO Horse of the Year crown in the hands of Lisa Coupe, before switching to eventing with Donna Smith. But now, he’s back where he is happiest, and today he showed all his class over the John Vallance-designed course.
There were 10 on the card, with seven coming back for the second shortened round. Of those, Daniel, Jesse Linton on Popeye, and Tess Clark on Sinatra II were all clear. The rest carried four and eight faults.
In the second round, Lily Tootill aboard Ulysses NZPH, Keean Cooper aboard Amarula MVNZ and Helen Kippen aboard Velocity NZPH all went clear, to remain on their first-round eight-fault scores. Jesse added four to his tally, while Tess added 10, leaving it to Daniel to go clear for the win.
“He is such a big scopey show jumper,” says Daniel, a full-time rider with NZPH. “It is just awesome.” The win was all the more special as the horse was out all of last season, but seems to have come back better then ever.
In the pony Grand Prix, 16-year-old Deanna Horsburgh of Cambridge and her self-produced pony Showtym Endeavour notched the only clear round of the class. They’ve had a good season and are always there or thereabouts, but this was their first GP win.
“It’s my last season on ponies, so this is really cool,” she says.
She’s hoping to now qualify for the Pony of the Year class at the Horse of the Year Show in March. And her efforts garnered her a little extra too, thanks to a promise from mum Anne, who will now buy her a Cambridge Collection bracelet.
“I am just so excited,” says Deanna. Her 14-year-old brother Brett also competed well in the pony GP, aboard the gorgeous Gisborne-bred Tuki.
Results: Larsen Sawmilling Gisborne Show Jumping Championships
Trans-Tasman Young Rider Test: Day one: Australia (Madeline Sinderberry, Mitchell Peulic, Stephanie MacKillop and Jasmine Dennison) 1, New Zealand (Lily Tootill, Karaka; Briar Burnett-Grant, Taupo; Harry Feast, Christchurch; Nakeysha Lammers, Hikurangi) 2. Day two: Australia 1, New Zealand 2. Day three: New Zealand 1, Australia 2. Final overall points: Australia 10 points 1, New Zealand 6 points 2.
Bayleys Real Estate Horse Grand Prix: Daniel Blundell (Ocean Beach) Lavello 1, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Popeye 2, Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) Amarula MVNZ 3, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Ulysses NZPH 4, Helen Kippen (Ocean Beach) Velocity NZPH 5, Tess Clark (Gisborne) Sinatra II 6.
Equissage Pony Grand Prix: Deanna Horsburgh (Cambridge) Showtym Endeavour 1, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 2, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Easy As 3, Crystal Hackett (Waiuku) Iamwhatiam 4, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Over Easy 5, Crystal Hackett (Waiuku) Cracklin Rose 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Waitangi Surf 1, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Ulysses NZPH 2, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Cormina Obolensky 3, Bryony Smith (Muriwai) Ngahiwi Warrior 4, Mikayla Herbert (Rotorua) Grand Caballo 5, Nakeysha Lammers (Hikurangi) All Expenses of Renton 6.
Lincoln University Junior Rider Series: Sinead Dolman (Gisborne) Kiwi Lansing 1, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 2, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Cormina Obolensky 3, Alyvia James (Cambridge) SK Halo 4, Maddison Bult (Auckland) Ngahiwi Warrior 5, Victoria Goodwin (Te Puke) Gold Dust 6.
Let’s Bale Pro Amateur Rider Series: Donna Atkinson (Te Puke) Dob Em In 1, Nick Brooks (Cambridge) For Fame 2, Catherine Cleghorn (Waiuku) My Distraction 3, Chris Peterson (Whakatane) Blackhawke 4, Lucia Voss (Kawerau) Treasure Blue NZPH 5, Robbie McKay (Opotiki) My Bush Baby 6.
Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider Series: Rachel Martin (Hawke’s Bay) Finnesse 1, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 2, Sofie Dever (Hawke’s Bay) Two Face 3, Carolyn Hooton (Waharoa) Prada 4, Ashleigh Forde (Hastings) My Gummi Bear 5, Andrea Kewish (Cambridge) Spring Fling 6.
Main Events University Series: Mikayla Herbert (Rotorua) Snow Storm 1, Will Moffett (Napier) Mustangs Edition 2, Rebecca Porter (Napier) Mr Harrison 3, Jessie McNeil (Tolaga Bay) Air Hill Squaw Valley 4, Jessie McNeil (Tolaga Bay) Ngahiwi Rouge 5, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 6.
Cortaflex Seven-Year-Old Series: Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Mea I 1, Sinead Dolman (Gisborne) Floriant DHU 2, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 3, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) In Disguise 4, Jasmine Sketchley (Whangarei) Bravado Ego Z 5, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Popeye 6.
Mitavite Six-Year-Old Series: Kirsten Worker (Clevedon) Melanies Choice, Elle Phillips (Hamilton) Lucidity GNZ, Matt Irvine (Takapau) La Perla and Elle Phillips (Hamilton) Cirrius GNZ =1.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Daniel Blundell (Ocean Beach) Charlie NZPH and Daniel Blundell (Ocean Beach) Crescendo NZPH =1.