Lily Tootill takes nothing for granted when she lines up in grand prix, but today, she and her Olympic Cup winner Ulysses NZPH made it look easy, riding to victory at the A&P Show in Gisborne.
Four of the 13 starters were all clear in the opening round of the Equissage Horse Grand Prix, but just three opted to come back for the jump-off. First out was Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and LT Holst Andrea who rode a lovely clear, stopping the clock at 46.6 seconds. Next out were Tootill (Karaka) and Ulysses NZPH who soared around the Roger Laplanche-designed course, also leaving everything in place in 43.2.
Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and the lovely Mandalay Cove gave it their all and fell just short with their 43.43 second time to take second place, with Brooke in third.
For Lily though, it was another special win aboard the horse she proudly calls her best mate. The combination were second in the same grand prix two years ago in one of their first starts ever at that level. Plenty has happened since then and their record is solid with grand prix wins and World Cup success.
“He is such a good boy,” said Lily of the 11-year-old chestnut
She thanked fellow competitor Geordie Bull (Taupo). “I walked from fences three to five and had no idea what I was going to do. He walked up and gave me a hint and the lightbulb clicked on.”
She also thanked the Gisborne Show organisers, judges and sponsors. Lily has been coming to the Gisborne Show for nigh on a decade, and figures she’s only missed one in that whole time. “It is one of my all-time favourites, just because it’s Gisborne,” she says. It carries plenty of fond memories too and is where she and Magpie had their first-ever pony mini prix.
“It is so great to win – I can remember when I was younger and looking at these big courses thinking I would never be able to jump the fences.”
Lily spent two months over winter with Chris Chugg in Australia and is planning on heading to the UK towards the end of the current season.
Dreams really do come true – just ask Gisborne teenager Amelia Paull who won the Country TV Pony Grand Prix on debut today. The 15-year-old has only had her pony Envious Edition since August and this was just their third show together.
But you wouldn’t have known it – they owned the course and, much to the delight of many, were the victors after a nail-biting jump-off against Phoebe Burns (Hastings) aboard the far more experienced Galaxy Masterpiece.
Amelia was out first and had two fences down with Phoebe having a couple down before being eliminated towards the end of the track. Paull was lost for words and there were plenty of tears – not just by her, but her very proud mum Jacqui and her friends.
“It is just awesome,” she said. “I wasn’t even sure I wanted to start after walking the course, it just looked so big.”
But the horse had been jumping well all show and with a little encouragement from her step sister Lucy Bond and the words of trainer Andrew Scott ringing in her ears, she decided to step up.
“(Sponsor) John Larsen bought the pony for me to do just this, but this is only our third show together – I just can’t believe it!”
The weather may have been somewhat challenging at times with chilly strong winds and rain squalls, but the riders were vocal in their appreciation of a show well done. Course builder Laplanche (Timaru), who has been part of the Gisborne Show for the past six years, said it was a pleasure to be working with such good ground.
“Horses jump good in good ground,” he said. His courses also drew plenty of praise from riders.
Equissage Horse Grand Prix Series: Lily Tootill (Karaka) Ulysses NZPH 1, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Mandalay Cove 2, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) LT Holst Andrea 3, Julie Davey (Hastings) Joligne de Carmea 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Gold Locks, Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Mea I, Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) McMillans Ariados and Jasmine Sketchley (Whangarei) Bravado Ego Z =5.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Amelia Paull (Gisborne) Envious Edition 1, Phoebe Burns (Hastings) Galaxy Masterpiece 2, Lucy Buchanan (Hastings) Redcliffs Colour Me Quick 3, Luke Myers (Marton) Teurewere Magic 4, Skye Edwards (Opotiki) My Heekin Special 5, Laura Foss (Havelock North) Silver Xanadu 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Sarah West (Matamata) Oaks Centurian 1, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Mr Muscles 2, Ella Davison (Bethlehem) Glenara Ladyhawke 3.
Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Pro Amateur Rider Series: Sally Clark (Dannevirke) Victoria’s Secret 1, Vicki Ridley (Auckland) Mosaic II 2, Chris Peterson (Whakatane) Blackhawke 3, Kirsten Worker (Clevedon) Melanies Choice 4, Helen Kippen (Hawke’s Bay) Velocity NZPH 5, Desiree Foxley (Hawke’s Bay) Johnny Dodge 6.
Hinterland Amateur Rider Series: Dana Sutton (Palmerston North) Down Wind 1, Amy Roydhouse (Hastings) Carino NZPH 2, Dana Sutton (Palmerston North) Semilly Du Pas 3, Amy Roydhouse (Hastings) Downtown NZPH 4, Jenny Randall (Gisborne) Nero Bello 5, Sofie Dever (Gisborne) Two Face 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Junior Rider Series: Sarah West (Matamata) LC Talent 1, Phoebe Burns (Hastings) Jerry Maclary 2, Madison Smith (Cambridge) SK Halo 3, Molly Prenter (Havelock North) Wenrose Vertigo 4, Sarah McKinnon (Gisborne) Matilda II 5, Ella Harkness (Napier) Kiwi Mildee 6. Junior rider equitation: Sarah West (Matamata) LC Talent 1, Molly Prenter (Havelock North) Wenrose Vertigo 2, Sarah McKinnon (Gisborne) Matilda II 3, Zoe Holt (Napier) Mangatu Magic 4, Madison Smith (Cambridge) SK Halo 5, Molly Goodisson (Havelock North) Darkages 6.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Eye See Ruby 1.
Mitavite Speedi-Beet Six-Year-Old Series: Daniel Webb (Hunterville) Constellation, Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) Malarkey and Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) LT Holst Elizabeth =1.
Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series: Luke Dee (Hastings) LC Taste of Diamonds 1, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Central Park 2, Harvey Nelson (Havelock North) Ngahiwi Loone 3.