Once a champion, always a champion

Showcause is a great example of a good horse being good at so many things! Family pet, champion racehorse and now national title winner in eventing!

Kelsey Leahy and Showcause on their way to winning the Wade Equine Coaches CIC 1* Ferndale Trophy Championship (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Showcause was an absolute star as a racehorse and is now starring in eventing, having just added the Ferndale Trophy to his already very full trophy cabinet with today’s win at Kihikihi International Horse Trials in the Wade Equine CIC1* Championship, ridden by Kelsey Leahy.

Showcause (Giant’s Causeway/Showella) won over $500,000 in his racing career, winning the New Zealand Cup, the Avondale Cup and the City of Auckland Cup, before retiring from racing as a seven-year-old and coming to start his sport horse career with Kelsey, who is based in Cambridge.

His first big eventing win was the 105cm title at the Taupo National Three-day Champs in 2016.

The day didn’t start that well for the pair when they got sent to the hold box in the veterinary check this morning, but that was the only hiccup as they passed on re-inspection and then went on to jump a lovely clear round in the show jumping, which caused its usual influence over the final results.

Kelsey had her first experiences in the hold box at the trot up this morning

Dannie Lodder had to concede the lead to Kelsey after dropping a rail towards the end of the course, and Monica Oakley on Festival, who was sharing second place with Kelsey after cross-country, dropped a rail early in her show jumping round.

It was a popular win with the Cambridge crowd, and some great sideline riding was done by Nick Brooks and Clarke Johnstone, amongst the supporters.

Kelsey’s husband Finbar and the couple’s two daughters (aged 1 and 3) were on hand to see the win. Finbar is extremely proud of his wife. “It is great for the kids to be here to see her win, she works so hard, and there has been a lot of time and effort put in with this horse. In fact, she spends too much time with him and not enough with me! Perhaps it is worth it now.”

“The win is all down to her hard work and the horse is a superstar.”

Kelsey and Finbar Leahy with Showcause and their two children after their big win today (Image:  Libby Law Photography)

Kelsey hopes to step 12-year-old ‘Gazza’ up to two-star level next spring. She did give some thought to trying him at that level this year, but decided against it. “There is no great hurry with him.”

The pair finished the cross-country clear and within the time, as befitting a champion racehorse, but Kelsey reckons while he finds achieving the time easy, “he has to be encouraged. He is so easy, he just goes in a snaffle, and cruises along with a loose rein.”

Kelsey Leahy and Showcause during the Wade Equine Coaches Wade Equine Coaches CIC 1* Ferndale Trophy Championship cross country. (Image: Libby Law Photography)

The horse loved the attention that came his way after the win. “He loves the camera!”

Kelsey recently led the Auckland Cup field out at Ellerslie. “It was the most fun I have had on a horse,” she says.  “He got a bit excited at the start, but was great, from the display gallop through to leading the field down to the gates. We also did a dressage demonstration earlier in the day and it was great that a lot of people recognised him, and enjoyed seeing him enjoying life after racing.”

Gazza still goes to the Cambridge training track. “He earns his keep by babysitting the young horses out on the track.”

Showcause resisting a kiss from Tash Brooks! (Image: Jane Thompson)

The horse was passed in for $90,000 as a yearling, but Kelsey says while he is worth so much more now he is not for sale. “He is part of our family, and when he retires from eventing, he will go back to his owner, Terry Archer, to retire with him.”

Celebrations will include “a few bubbles” although going by the levels of excitement shown on the sidelines, especially amongst the Brook family, there will be more than a few bubbles popped in due course!

Kelsey is aiming to compete in the one-star class at Taupo in May and there may be more trophies to add to that cabinet. Perhaps a bigger one may need to be made!

The moment Kelsey realised she had won the title!