The Wairarapa wind was wicked today for the cross country phase at the NZPCA Eventing Champs, but it didn’t worry most riders and their horse and ponies as there were plenty of clear rounds recorded. Fence judges and commentators had the biggest challenge on their hands, keeping their papers under control!
There were few changes in the leaderboard from the dressage phase in the DC and MT classes, but there were some changes in the the A1 section and the team’s competition.
Canterbury still have the lead in the teams on their score of 123.21, but the combined Auckland/Otago Southland team has moved up to second on their score of 133.88. The host team, Wairarapa Wellington, is now in third on 133.96, and the Waikato team isn’t far behind – less than one rail – on 137.68.
Canterbury’s coach, Becci Thomas, was absolutely delighted with her team’s performance. “They all stayed attached, and looked so good, especially through the drop combinations,” she said. “The team really enjoyed riding the course.”
In the Mark Todd section, the top three leaders after dressage remain unchanged, with Charlotte Thomas on Te Puke still on top on a score of 27.625 followed by Fabriana McQuarrie on Yippee Ki Yay on a score of 30.0, both riding for the Canterbury team and both looking very accomplished out on course. Charlotte doesn’t have room for a rail in tomorrow’s show jumping phase.
Hollie Falloon on Fairleigh Catterick is in third place for the Wairarapa Wellington team on a score of 32.375. Gus Nelson has moved up to fourth equal on Cricket, being the first out on the MT track today and showing everyone how it was done. He shares the fourth spot with Maggie Bowles on Darvel Mia from Otago Southland with both being on a score of 34.125.
In the DC section, the standard was very high, with 30 of the 34 starters jumping clear and within time. Eden Doull (Franklin Thames Valley team) and Noble Value flew around the course, as did Kaitlyn Freeman on Landisohn, who is riding as an individual rider for the Manawatu West Coast. Eden, sitting on a score of 22.9 has just one rail in hand from Kaitlyn who has a score of 26.84.
Auckland’s Tayla Moss and King Oath made a good job of the course to be in third place on 29.87. Jordan Shrimpton on Ka Pai Kiwi from Canterbury and Francesca Masfen on Kinnordy Gallilee for the Auckland team share fourth place on a score of 30.66, both showing the course was well within their capabilities.
In the A1 section, there were quite a few changes in placings at the end of the day, with time faults coming into play. There were no faults to add to the dressage leader’s score however. Beth Wilson and Alto Et Audax really blitzed the course, with great lines ridden. They sit on a score of 30.0, but there is a very tight top five, with less than four penalties separating them so a clear round in tomorrow’s show jumping will be crucial!
Second after cross country is Claudia Hurley on Dartanian from Taranaki, riding as an individual, on a score of 32.37. In third place is Waikato’s Jenny Bevege on her home-bred Ngatamahine JJ Airtime on a score of 32.63. Moving up into fourth place is Aiden Viviers from Wairarapa Wellington team, riding Giselle II. They were the A1 winners in 2016 and looked very good out on course today. Coming up into fifth place is another individual rider, Bay of Plenty’s Samuel Amon on Trojan Warrior.
So while most riders, coaches, supporters and organisers were all smiles at the end of the day today, there is still another phase to go and show jumping will be very influential. The riders certainly rode well today, with a very good standard overall.
Auckland coach, Jacque McKinley, was full of praise for the cross country course. “It was totally fair, and our riders all loved it. It was the perfect course for the Championships, the designer and organisers did a really good job. It is so good to see the kids coming home smiling and safe.”
Franklin Thames Valley coach, Angela Lloyd, was impressed with the performance of the DC riders throughout the competition. “The maturity of the DC riders is great, they have really stepped up from previous years and that is great for the future of the sport,” said Angela. Her team dropped out of the leaderboard in the team competition, with their two “green” MT competitors having some issues on course. They do have two members of their team leading the A1 and DC section however!
NZPCA President, Geraldine Rae, said the course was a credit to the organisers. “Congratulations to all involved, the course produced some challenges, the standard of the jumps was wonderful and it provided a great experience for the riders at a championship event.”
Images will be available for purchase in due course on Pegasus Communications’ website