Cross-country thrills and spills at Kihikihi

Sam Lissington and Ricker Ridge Rui lead the CCI4* (Libby Law)

By the most slender margin, Samantha Lissington and her impressive Ricker Ridge Rui have their fingertips on the Forest Gate Trophy after a superb cross-country performance today in the Waipa Home of Champions CCI4* at Kihikihi.

Sam and Rui were second going into cross-country, and nailed their round today over John Nicholson’s meaty track. With six time faults, they were equal quickest, and now sit on 36.9 penalties going into tomorrow’s show jumping.

Sam was the four-star pathfinder on Ricker Ridge Escada, a former winner of this class; they were confident and quick for just 10 time penalties, and rose from 11th to fourth as a result.

“I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding than heading through the finish flags at Kihikihi at this level!,” says Sam. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and hoping that I can do them both justice!”

Sam, who plans to move to the UK with a team of horses after the National 3DE Championships in May, says she is super-excited about Rui’s future; she’s produced the warmblood gelding, who was bought sight unseen from an auction by her parents, since the age of three. He is by Littorio out of Rei-Huia Patriotic.

Maddy Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest, who led after dressage, had a big life at the first serious question – the drop rails to the big corner at fence 7B – which was once again the bogey fence on the course, with five of the 14 starters faulting there. But the classy mare showed that sometimes, your horse has to help you out; even though she wasn’t on the best of strides, she made a gutsy effort for her young rider. The pair went on in terrific style to complete clear with just 8.4 time faults, and are now only 0.3 pen adrift to sit second behind Sam and Rui.

Monica Oakley had a superb round on her glorious eight-year-old Acrobat (by Euro Sport Centavos), clear and with just 12.8 time faults on a horse who has only recently stepped up to Advanced, to now sit third, on 46.1.

Hastings farrier Jake Barham and Atlan were perhaps the surprise combination in the class, clear and with just six time faults, to sit fifth overnight on 50.2.

The crowds today were looking forward to watching Blyth Tait ride around the Kihikihi track for the first time, but sadly it wasn’t to be, as he and his mare Havanna parted company at fence 10, a brush up on the top polo field. The course was held for some considerable time as Blyth was assessed and then taken by ambulance to hospital, which was frightening for all. We were later reassured that he was conscious and talking, and hopefully will soon be on the mend.

Grassroots Trust CCI3*

Matthew Grayling and NRM Trudeau are in pole position in the Grassroots Trust CCI3* class, having come home clear and under time over a testing track. Matthew and the 12-year-old gelding, who is by Magistad and is owned and bred by Winky Foley, looked confident and controlled. 

The leaders after dressage, Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, were also clear, but accrued 10 time faults, to slip to fifth place.

Monica Oakley fair scooted up the leaderboard to second with a super clear round under time on her seven-year-old thoroughbred Artist (by Guillotine), and Monica also holds fourth place on Festival, her homebred chestnut mare who is only 155cm, with just two time faults.

Louise Mulholland and her wonderful 13-year-old Irish sport horse Mr McTaggart are third, having incurred 1.6 time.

One of the first out on course, Lauren Alexander and Classic Indigo, were clear and under time to zoom up from 17th to sixth place. 

Wade Equine Coaches CCI2*

Clarke Johnstone held on to the lead he established yesterday in the dressage on Watermill Glenneagle in the Ferndale Trophy Championship, clear and under time.

The riders in second and third also finished cross-country day with no further penalties; Jock Paget on Bing Bong, and Lizzie Green on Comanche II. Renee Faulkner and The Dragon Warrior are now fourth, and Susan Le Mesurier and Sparky Malarkey have risen to fifth. 

In the Prestige CCN2* class, which was hit by a random hail storm late in the piece, Angela Lloyd and Lyrical have held on to their lead, having added no further penalties.

Angela Lloyd and Lyrical lead the Prestige CCN2* class (Libby Law)

The other placegetters after dressage did not fare so well. Bonnie Farrant is now second on Jay Gatsby, having risen from 11th place, Graham Fox is third on Oranoa Tobasco, and Amanda Illston fourth on Brotherhood. 

Tait Trophy and 1.05 classes

Clarke Johnstone and Watermill Hadley (Libby Law)

There was little change at the top of the leaderboards in the four 1.05m classes. Clarke Johnstone is still in a commanding position to take home the Tait Trophy in the JLT CCN105 Championship class, first with Watermill Hadley and second with Dolly Blue, having piloted them both home clear and under time.

Gemma Hampson and Just Rock On have risen from fifth to third place, Lizzie Green is now fourth with Corona Xtreme, Sophie Wilkinson fifth on Astek Gampardo, and Samantha Mynott sixth on By Illusionist.

Sixteen of the 31 starters in this class were clear and under the time, while another 12 were clear but incurred time faults – expensive in the case of Sofie Boswell and Eliza Raven, who dropped from third and fourth respectively to 11th and 14th as a result.

Scout Lodder and Overnight Success are still way out in front in the Vosper Law CCN105 restricted A class, with two rails in hand over Emily Wright and JA Take a Shot. Charlotte Treneary and Kabo Pongo are third, Paula Henderson and Renegades Night Rider fourth, while Jordan Smythe has risen to fifth on Mistabrowne. 

Scout Lodder and Overnight Success are way out in front in the Vosper Law CCN105 restricted (Libby Law)

Amber Scott has also retained first position with Absolou in the Carlton Party Hire CCN105 restricted B class, with Mikaela Lewis still sitting second on Zenvo. Alyssa Harrison is third equal on Da Vinci Code with Mary Matthews on He’s a Gem. Ashleigh Butler is fifth on Unda No Allusion, and all of these top five are on their dressage scores.

Amber Scott and Absolou lead the Carlton Party Hire CCN105 (Libby Law)

In the Pryde’s Easifeed CCN105 open class, Rachel Masters and Powerhouse have retained their day-one lead, though second-placed Helen McGrath has slipped to 10th thanks to 10.4 time falls on HLT Malibu. Leasa Williamson is now second, on Ridgeview Damairis, Sam Lissington third on Hedge Fund, and Sam Mynott fourth on Riverview Mana.

Rachel Masters and Powerhouse lead the open CCN105 class (Libby Law)