The New Zealand Performance Horse breeding programme, started all those years ago by Warwick and Juliet Hansen, is the gift that keeps on giving to New Zealand show jumping.
Horses with the NZPH suffix are never too far from the winning circle at any show, and certainly were to the fore in the age-group title classes decided at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show today.
In the Matthews Hanoverians 7YO Horse of the Year Class, NZPH horses finished first, second, fifth and 12th; an impressive performance in what turned out to be a dramatic class.
Ten combinations left all the rails up in the first round of Werner Deeg’s challenging track. In round two, Clarke Johnstone and Watermill Hadley were first out, and had a rail at the liverpool, but completed in a good time of 52.97. This turned out to be the performance to beat for a while at least, as following him were two retirements, a 16-fault and an 8-fault round.
Oliver Edgecombe and his ground-covering Carnival NZPH were the first double clear, and set the standard at 59.54 seconds, and it seemed like that would be that.
But, second-last to go was Samantha Peters and her superb Cadillac NZPH. The big, powerful bay simply surged around; it was bold, it was brave, it had a great rhythm and it was a phenomenally-quick round, shaving more than nine seconds from Oliver’s time.
Following her was Luke Dee with Numero Uno Xtreme, who’d looked terrific in the first round, but sadly for him had the first rail down.
So, it was a well-deserved victory for Sam, a full-time rider from Cambridge. The 172cn Cadillac NZPH is by Jokus Latour out of Untouched NZPH, and was bought by Sam and her partner, Maxim van Lierde, as a four-year-old. “I bought him on the recommendation of my friends Daniel Blundell and Tui Teka, and since then he’s been nothing but brilliant.
“He keeps getting better; he’s an absolute super-star. He just keeps giving. I can dare him, and he will give it his all.”
Sam (28) and Cadillac NZPH have had a superb season, including a good win in the final of the Seven-year-old Tour at Takapoto Estate in early March.
She says she’d love to step him up to World Cup level in time, but won’t push him as an eight-year-old next season. “He’s 100% an athlete and has a work ethic to match; I’d love to take him international in the future.”
Sam is sponsored by NRM, Maddox Equestrian, Magnum Industries and Kelato Animal Health.
Second place went to Oliver with Carnival NZPH (True Blue NZPH/Margot NZPH), third to Muzi Pottinger and her thoroughbred Good Timing, fourth to Clarke Johnstone and Watermill Hadley, and fifth to Heloise Tolo and Can’t Touch This NZPH.
NZPH stable rider Alex Loiselle took out the 5YO Horse of the Year crown, on Encore NZPH (Quool du Boig Margot/Truly Blue NZPH), and was also third on Eldorado NZPH (Pezetas Du Rouet/Paradise NZPH).
Donna Edwards-Smith and Henton For Glory (For Edition/Henton Exclusive) were second, Hayley Morgan fourth on her stationbred gelding Stardust Harlequin Revenge, and Luke Dee fifth on Chic Xtreme (Corofino II).
Silver Fern Stakes
It’s all about keeping calm and riding the horse, says Tom Tarver who this evening rode Popeye to a win in the Bucas Silver Fern Stakes.
It was a super 20-strong field with just 10 coming back for the second round – four were all clear, two on a single time fault, three on four faults and one on five.
Tom and his lovely grey had the luxury of going last. Ahead of him, 16-year-old Annabel Francis, the youngest in the field, had left everything up, stopping the clock at 45.04 seconds. Tegan Fitzsimon and the very in-form Windermere Cappuccino were also on zero faults, coming home in 45.2 seconds, with Nick Brooks and Versace C picking up a single time fault in their 50.92 round.
Tom then left everything up in 41.88 seconds to bag the $9000 winner’s purse. Last year’s Norwood Gold Cup winner said it was a simple mantra: “You just have to stay calm. You’ve still got to ride the horse. It takes a lot to get a horse to this level and it is good when it all comes together like this. You always get a little nervous but you’ve just got to do the job.”
He bought Popeye from Kim and Greg Best two years ago and is planning to compete across the Tasman later this year.
Annabel and Carado GHP were second, Tegan third and Nick fourth.
There was plenty of excitement in a dramatic Bayleys Real Estate Young Rider of the Year Final. After two rounds, just defending champ Emily Hayward aboard her pretty mare Yandoo Lady Gold and Norwood Gold Cup winner Oliver Croucher on Waitangi Surf remained on zero faults.
Emily was out first in the jump-off and by her own admission, a rail at the first made her heart sink. However, she posted a solid 46.28sec time, leaving it to Oliver to chase on his big grey. He looked to be going for a clear when he jumped the wrong fence . . . much to the disappointment of everyone watching, eliminating him from the jump-off.
Emily says she felt the added pressure as the defending champion. “She jumped incredibly. It is definitely a good feeling. I had a bit of luck on my side in the jump-off. I thought I was gone after taking that first rail.”
She felt it was a bit of a “cruel” way to win the class but she is very proud of her hot little horse. “She is hard to beat on a good day. She is a real show off, and loves HOY.”
Meanwhile, Oliver was cursing himself. “It was just silly,” he says. “I jumped the double and saw a good stride to the upright. I was probably a stride out when I realised [it was the wrong fence]. I could have pulled off, but it was just too late.” Ever the sportsman, he said Emily had well deserved the win.
“It’s a bit disappointing – Waitangi Surf hasn’t taken a rail all show. Certainly, that mistake was all mine.”
Steffi Whittaker and On the Point Eve had a single time fault in the first round, but were all clear in the second, for third place. Elmo Jackson and Fairview Animation were fourth, and Sophie Scott and Lakota fifth.