While the riders in the NRM CCI 3* Open National Championship were happy to talk about their dressage tests, they were unanimous in saying that the cross country was going to be the real test!
Leader after the dressage, Amanda Pottinger on Just Kidding, summed up what everyone was saying. “I don’t think the dressage marks will matter much at all, perhaps we should have just drawn them out of a hat,” she said after her test.
As to her dressage test, she was pretty happy with it. “Given how fiery he was when he came down to the arena, yes, I am very happy with it. It was certainly much more settled than last year, when he reared at the end of the test!”
Into second place after a lovely test today was Nick Brooks and For Fame. For both, it is their first CCI3* event. “It was good,” said Nick. “It is where he is at currently, but ultimately he stayed with me and was happy. He was even calm enough to snatch some grass after his last halt, which perhaps isn’t a great look!”
Last year’s winners, Emily Cammock and Shaw Lee did a solid test. “He was a good boy, a little tense perhaps with a few mistake,” said Emily.
Donna Edwards-Smith had a busy day with horses in nearly every class. On DSE Tangolooma she is sitting in fourth place, and on DSE Cluny, she is in 8th place. She is also leading the Bates CCI2* class on Chanel Griffith’s Astek Guardsman and is 9th in the Warakei Resort 105 Championship. At the end of such a busy day she needs to walk the courses again, but what she has seen she is impressed with. “I love the track. I congratulated Chris Ross today, as I am not sure I will want to congratulate him tomorrow!”
Donna said the riders had been having lots of discussions about the course. “We think it has a bit of Badminton, a bit of Burghley, a bit of Kentucky and a bit of Adelaide. It may even have a bit of the Olympics!” Course designer, Chris Ross worked at the Olympics on the course building crew and was also at Adelaide last year and there are a couple of combinations that certainly have a familiar look to some at both of those events.
It is a very bold course, with a lot of questions. Skinnies and corners feature, and everyone agrees that it will require some riding, and definitely will need accuracy and honesty.
Many of the riders, when asked about their impression of the course, started by saying, “Woooaaahhh!” Other popular statements included: “there is no room for error”, “it’s huge, it’s massive, it’s technical” and “Chris has done a great job!”
Kirsty Sharapoff, from Christchurch on Shoot the Breeze, is 9.3pen behind the leader, in 13th place. She thought her horse is more than capable of getting around the course. “The muppet on top has to get it right,” she said. She intends doing more course walks before deciding whether she will take the options (there are not many) or go straight through.
Jessica Woods, 7.4pen behind the leader in 12th place, is looking to do one of the few options towards the end of the course. “Those angles at the end [fence 21a and b], I think I will take the option as it could be a big ask on a tired horse.”
Corey Wood, just 5.3pen behind Amanda in 6th place did a lovely test on Pick Up Line (aka Sarge). “He was an idiot out here this morning so I gave him plenty of work and he was great in the arena.” Corey hasn’t had the best preparation when Sarge was unable to compete at the ODE in Christchurch recently due to a slight lameness which has gone now. As to his dressage coach, Corey said he had had one lesson with Mura Love a while ago. “I’m too poor to get lessons,” said the Southland based rider who works on a sheep and beef farm there. “I watch and learn.” As to the cross country, Corey is riding a brave horse. “He’ll give it a nudge, we just have to stay inside the flags!”
Diane Gilder and Your Attorney are sitting in 8th= place after producing a nice test which Diane was very happy with. As to the course, she said that Chris had really put his stamp on it. “If these are the courses we are going to get from now on, we are heading for exciting times. I may need to wear a nappy when I am walking and riding it,” she laughed. She thought that the first part of the course was quite novel in that there is a lot of galloping in between the first four fences. “Then you have to concentrate again at the combination at fence 5 and then the combination at Fence 7 is the first really big question.”
Matthew Grayling did a lovely test on NRM Trudeau, who is having his first start at a CCI3*. The pair finished third in the CCI2* last year here. “He is work in progress, but he was very rideable especially at the end,” Matthew said after his test.
As to the course? “It’s intense, the lines are tight, he is a new boy. I haven’t jumped a decent three-star for a while, but this is the National Championships. That combination with the ditch and then two strides to the angled brush is tough!” [Fence 13]
Amanda Pottinger also thought this was the biggest course three-star riders had faced for a while. “Its even tougher than Kihikihi,” she said. “My first challenge is the combination at 5 because of the forward distance and I’m on a pony, and then the challenges come thick and fast.
Another who had a very busy day was Samantha Felton. Her three horses in the three-star are sitting in 7th, 14th and 15th, and she is lying second in both the CCI2* and the CCI1* on Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ and Ricker Ridge Riley. She may need a good torch to finish walking all the courses she has to ride tomorrow!
The weather forecast isn’t looking great, with rain forecasted, but Taupo ground is drains very well and quickly. Fingers crossed the forecasters are wrong!
Good luck tomorrow everyone!
Results after dressage
NRM CCI 3* Open National Championship
|Amanda ‘Muzi’ Pottinger||29.2|
|2||For Fame||Nick Brooks||31.5|
|3||Shaw Lee||Emily Cammock||33.1|
|4||DSE Tangolooma||Donna Edwards-Smith||33.8|
|5||Pioneer Brass Monkey||Ashleigh Mckinstry||34.1|
|6||NRM Trudeau||Matthew Grayling||34.2|
|7||Pick Up Line||Corey Wood||34.5|
|8||Ricker Ridge Escada||Samantha Felton||34.8|
|9||DSE Cluny||Donna Edwards-Smith||35|
|9||Your Attorney||Diane Gilder||35|
|11||Tresca NZPH||Bundy Philpott||35.9|
|Bates CCI 2* Championship|
|1||Astek Guardsman||Donna Edwards-Smith||26.7|
|2||Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ||Samantha Felton||28.1|
|3||Bates Game Keeper||Bryce Newman||29.5|
|5||Royal Guardsman||Warwick Douglas||32.6|
|6||X Factor||Stephanie Vervoort||32.7|
|9||NRM Valiance||Matthew Grayling||35.4|
|10||Alto et Audax||Beth Wilson||36.4|
Fiber Fresh CCI 1* Championship
|2||Ricker Ridge Riley||Samantha Felton||30|
|3||Henton Armada||Christen Lane||31.5|
|4||Dunrobin Gancanagh||Courtney Davis||32|
|5||CHS Ripleys Dream||Samantha Mynott||32.8|
|7||JA Take a Shot||Jeffrey Amon||33.5|
|8||Happy Go Lucky||Molli Thacker||33.7|
|9||Pioneer Canny Lad||Ashleigh Mckinstry||33.9|
|10||SE Gorky Park||Brent Jury||34.1|
|AMS Saddlery CCI 1* Open|
|1||Henton Armani||Matthew Grayling||30.1|
|2||Astek Gadzuks||Denise Rushbrook||30.1|
|3||Eton MVNZ||Denise Rushbrook||33.9|
|5||My Hallucination||Niamh Rayne||37.4|
|6||Xanthus III||Fiona Fraser||37.6|
|9||Case in Point||Francesca Silver-Carter||40.3|
Wairakei Resort CCN105 Championship
|2||Ash Haven Diva||Kirsty Guilfoyle||29.2|
|3||Delta Duet||Nick Stackpole||29.4|
|4||Comanche II||Lizzie Green||30.2|
|5||HNS Chrialka Gienah||Bryar Kirkeby||30.8|
|7||Kings Soleil||Jessica Woods||31.4|
|9||DSE Presley||Donna Edwards-Smith||32.1|
|Taupo Veterinary Centre CCN105 Open|
|1||LV Encostalot||Jessica Woods||21|
|2||Noble Value||Eden Doull||28.1|
|3||Holy Hek||Brea Walker||29.3|
|4||Waipuna Jack||Anna Schroeder||31.4|
|6||Oranoa Tobasco||Graham Fox||32.8|
|8||Private Benjamin||Louise Leonard||33.6|
|9||Final Edition||Cassie Dalgety||35|
|10||Parklands Illusion||Emma Pinkney||35.3|