Bundy Philpott would be the first to admit she’s not known for her cross-country speed. But you wouldn’t have known that from her performance with Tresca NZPH at the Hastings showgrounds today, where they blitzed a top field to take out the CCI4* at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.
Bundy went into today’s final cross-country phase in first place, but there was only the merest of margins – 0.8 of a penalty – between her and second-placed Muzi Pottinger and her phenomenally quick Just Kidding: the defending champions no less.
Getting under the time on Chris Ross’s testing and twisting track was always going to be a challenge, and Bundy proved she was more than up for it, with her foot to the floor right from the start box. Tresca (known at home as ‘Pete’) responded magnificently, bold and super-brave. He did have a bit of a life at the Discovery corner, but tackled one brush combination in a jaw-dropping single stride – others had found it a long-ish two strides and some had even popped in three.
All in all it was a wonderful, athletic display, and the fact that they incurred 0.4 of a time fault didn’t take the shine off in the slightest.
Muzi was at her trademark best across the country, and she and Just Kidding were one of four combinations to come home under the time, but frustratingly for her, she remained a fraction in arrears.
Monica Oakley and Acrobat finished on their dressage score to scoot into third place, ahead of Madison Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest, who were clear cross-country but added 3.2 time faults.
Diane Gilder on Your Attorney and Beth Wilson on Alto et Audax were the other two combinations to jump double clear on cross country, and were rewarded with fifth and sixth places respectively.
Clarke Johnstone incurred 19.6 time faults with Ace’s High, to drop one place to seventh.
Tresca NZPH, who is by Fuego du Parlet, came to Bundy to produce at the age of four, and quickly became a favourite with the hard-working and popular Cambridge rider.
“He’s not sensational-looking, I can tell you that!” she laughs. “But he suits me down to the ground, because he’s a real worker: the more you put in, the more you get out. He’s not unbelievably talented in one particular phase, but he just puts his best foot forward in all of them. He’s incredibly straight-forward and anyone could get him to jump a round of jumps. He stood out as a nice person from the start. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him put his ears back at another horse – he hasn’t got a bad bone in his body.”
None of the three-star riders were able to get the cross-country time, but Donna Edwards-Smith was one of the quickest with DSE Cluny, and thus held on to take the win, ahead of Monica Oakley and Artist.
Donna says she is so super-proud of Cluny and thrilled for his owner, Gaye McClunie.
“He deserves this win, because it’s been a tough year for him. He put in three solid phases and today he gave me a great Formula One XC ride; he felt great and had plenty left in the tank.”
Vicky Browne-Cole had 14 time faults with Cutting Edge, despite a determined and positive-looking ride, to drop from second to third, while Alena Dorotich had 16.4 time with Donner XS, dropping from third to fourth.