All six ESNZ Eventing series conclude at the NRM National Three-day Event at Taupo next weekend, and while the current leaders cannot be overtaken in the Super League, the Equissage Pro-Am, or the PEL Amateur Rider series, the competition for top spot in the Mitavite Young Rider, the Junior Rider, and the Grassroots series is going down to the wire.
The Super League was sewn up by Clarke Johnstone and the incomparable Balmoral Sensation after their wins in the Land Rover HOY CIC3* and the “Forest Gate” CIC3* at Kihikihi, and while they will not be competing at Taupo, they will perform the test ride for the CCI3* ground jury to get their eye in. This will be the last opportunity to see them in action here before they fly to England to polish off their campaign for WEG selection.
Defending champions Emily Cammock and Shaw Lee, from Christchurch, currently hold runner up position in the Super League, and will be keen to cement that place at Taupo, having cruised around the McLeans Island course during the South Island CIC3* championship for second place behind North Islander Jessica Woods on Just de Manzana.
Donna Edwards-Smith, who holds third position on DSE Tangolooma, can never be discounted, but it would need a lot of luck for her to overtake Emily, both riders being seasoned internationals with extensive overseas experience. Jessica heads the bunch on Just de Manzana, but they trail the top three by a considerable margin, so it would need a top performance from any of them to make it into the money.
The Equissage Pro-Am series is a done deal for Louise Mulholland on Mr McTaggert, who campaigns from Taumarunui, but runner up Holly Rose, who lives in Taupo, will need to be on her game with Pampero to hold out Tayla Mason and Centennial, from Waikanae, who are making a late run.
The PEL Amateur series has been won by an outstanding margin by Shannon Galloway on Day Walker, who has competed relentlessly and is now discarding her lower scores, having clocked up more than the maximum ten scores permitted. Amanda Illston holds second place on the home bred Verdelho, and is unlikely to be overtaken, but anything can happen with horses as we all know.
The age group series are where the real interest lies, with the lead changing repeatedly in the Mitavite Young Rider series. Beth Wilson regained the lead on Alto et Audax after winning the Charisma Trophy for the National Young Rider CIC2* title at Pukemarama, but Jeffrey Amon is too close for comfort on JA Take A Shot after a consistent 1* season.
The Junior Rider series has developed into an interesting situation since runaway leaders Caroline Howell and Telestory’s nasty fall at Kihikihi, which resulted in time out for them. This allowed Kaitlyn Freeman on Landisohn to close the gap, however Caroline has made a good recovery and started again at Pukemarama, but at a lower level to regain confidence, so is now adding to her tally again.
The Grassroots series is anyone’s to take, having been closely contested all the way through, with the lead changing after almost every event, and only one point separating Ashley Johnstone on Miss Vee NZPH and Ashra McAvinue on TR Wanderlust.
The CCI (long format) classes at Taupo earn more points than the CIC (short format) classes routinely contested during the year long season, so a top performance is very valuable at a three-day event. The series winners and placegetters receive their rewards at the ESNZ Eventing Annual Awards Dinner in Wellinton on Saturday 14th July.