Our new Lady Rider of the Year!

Rachel Malcolm and Monte Carlo MVNZ (image: Libby Law)

It’s been a huge year for Rachel Malcolm, with the birth of her first baby, and a successful return to the saddle culminating in winning the coveted Lady Rider of the Year.

Rachel, who is a full-time rider and trainer based in Cambridge, says it was extra-special to win on Monte Carlo MVNZ, a horse she has had since he was two. “It’s always been a dream of mine to win the Lady Rider, and it’s special to do it on a horse who I have produced all the way through. He’s a very special horse, and I’m so grateful for Wendy and Richard Keddell of Mount View for breeding him and placing him with me.”

She also paid tribute to the supportive team of family and friends behind her. “My husband John, my mum, my sister, my best friend Tash [Brooks] and my friend and coach Lisa [Coupe] have all played a huge part, and there’s no way I’d be here without them.”

Rachel says Monte Carlo is both quick and careful (image: Libby Law)

It’s not the first HOY title for the talented Indoctro gelding, as he and Rachel won the Six-year-old crown two years ago.

The 30 combinations who lined up to tackle this year’s Lady Rider on the whole made quite heavy weather of Werner Deeg’s track. Fifteen had gone around before one pair left all the rails up – Tegan Fitzsimon and her gallant 20-year-old Alacazam MH on his swansong – but they collected a time fault.

The same fate befell Nakeysha Lammers and Balboa NZPH, and Sarah West on Delamerie Sun.

There were just two double clears, Rachel and Monte Carlo MVNZ, and Drew Carson on Winston V Driene. They were joined in round two by the three on one fault, plus two riders on four faults – 14-year-old Olivia Newsom and Caretino Jewel, and Julie Davey on Ngahiwi Stone, and also Rachel on her second horse Twerk, who was the fastest of those who were on five faults.

First out in the second round, Rachel and Twerk had the last rail for a total of eight. Olivia’s horse knocked the second element of the double, while Julie’s collected three rails.

It would have been a lovely story for Tegan and Alacazam to win at his last competition, and he certainly did himself proud to leave all the rails up again, but unfortunately, he also collected a second time fault.

Sarah and Delamerie Sun had a rail at the Stirrups fence for a total of five, and then it was down to the two riders on clear. Twenty-one-year-old Drew and her 17-year-old horse played it safe, and were rewarded with another clear jumping round, but had a time fault. This put them in third place behind Nakeysha and Balboa, who were clear in round two.

Nakeysha Lammers and Balboa NZPH were second (image: Libby Law)
Drew Carson and Winston V Driene were third (Image: Libby Law)

So it was all down to Rachel, who with Monte Carlo was the only rider to make the inside turn between fences one and two, and was then able to ease off slightly, leaving all the rails up and stopping the clock at 56.72 seconds for the win.

Tegan was fourth, Sarah fifth and Olivia sixth.