The blokes call it “a couple for the battlers” but the rest know it was a show for classy grey mares at the Taupo Christmas Classic.

Tim Myers (New Plymouth) steered his lovely dapple grey Surreal to the win in the Spark King Country Taupo Classic 1.4m CSI1*, backing up his mate Fraser Tombleson’s victory in Saturday’s FEI World Cup round aboard his own lovely mare, Mea I.

Today, Tim and Surreal were one of 23 combinations to start the rated class, and 14 who came back for the second round – seven of whom were clear.

“She was super today,” said the 25-year-old farrier. “She didn’t touch a thing.” But that’s hardly surprising for Surreal, who doesn’t like touching anything.

Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) and her speedy AP Ninja were just before Tim and set a cracking pace with their double clear in 50.31 seconds. “I didn’t think I was going to get her,” said Tim. “Em posted a very hot round going first . . . all you can do is chase and hope you get there.”

As it turned out, Tim’s 50.19 second time just edged Emily and AP Ninja into second, with the remaining place-getters all on four faults – Duncan McFarlane (Taupo) on Be Mine NZPH third in 54.27, Nick Brooks (Cambridge) and Versace C fourth in 56.31, Catherine Cameron (Cambridge) aboard Kingslea Couture filling fifth spot in 56.68 seconds and Lily Tootill (Karaka) on Rosthwaite Ballet sixth in 57.4 seconds.

Tim has had Surreal since she was four or five. He spied her with Vicki Prendergast who had done a few sports days with her but no shows. “I liked her a lot – I loved from that first ride. She is a little bit of a hotter ride which I don’t mind. It is easier to hold something with a bit of an engine in her than kick to get her going. I get a bit puffed doing that!”

He had hoped to tilt her for the World Cup Series but they had a set-back at Equidays in the warm-up when she completely didn’t even see a jump and had a pretty big crash. “I dropped her back to 1.3m – I wanted to make sure her confidence was OK.”

But since then they’ve done the odd grand prix and he’s happy with where she is at. “When she is on, she is on. She is a little quirky but as long as I ride her OK, it’s all good.”

Tim said he was hugely proud of his mare, and thanked his parents Bernie and Megan for their unwavering support.


In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Karis Spurway and Kabo Cappesh stamped their name on the crown with a convincing 4.25 second advantage over their nearest opposition Sophia Hall (Auckland) aboard TCH Centadel. Both girls were double clear in the 24-strong class that saw 12 combinations come back – five with clean slats and the rest carrying four faults.


Results –

Spark King Country Taupo Classic 1.4m CSI1*: Tim Myers (New Plymouth) Surreal 1, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) AP Ninja 2, Duncan McFarlane (Taupo) Be Mine NZPH 3, Nick Brooks (Cambridge) Versace C 4, Catherine Cameron (Cambridge) Kingslea Couture 5, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Rosthwaite Ballet 6.

Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Karis Spurway (New Plymouth) Kabo Cappesh 1, Sophia Hall (Auckland) TCH Centadel 2, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 3. Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) Redcliffs Bill 4, Olivia Apatu (Havelock North) Alasaan Arzu 5, Katie Bridgeman (Auckland) Tallyho Scoundrel 6.

FMG Young Rider Series: Blake Davis (Palmerston North) Giggles 1, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 2, Olivia Dalton (Karaka) Cil Dara Bonaparte 3, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) On the Point Sandy 4, Drew Carson (Putaruru) Winston V Driene 5, Sarah West (Matamata) Oaks Centurian 6.

Dunstan Horsefeeds and EquiFibre Junior Rider Series: Ally Carson (Putaruru) Whiorau Ritchie 1, Colleen Crous (Auckland) Orames Girl 2, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Cherokee NZPH 3, Sophie Littlewood (Auckland) Peak Wood Hawkesdale Remy 4, Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) Binverter 5, Charlotte Amos (Cambridge) Kabo Marmite 6.

Hinterland Amateur Rider Series: Louise Mulholland (Taumarunui) Mr McTaggart 1, Fleur Butler (Katikati) Amarula MVNZ 2, Holly Baines (Gisborne) Halo 3, Paxton Condor (Whatawhata) La Fonteyn 4, Emily Kozlowski (Carterton) Double J Wiloma 5, Simone McConnell (Tauranga) Country Zena 6.

Dunstan Horsefeeds and EquiFibre Pro-Am Rider Series: Christine Cornege (Cambridge) Varekai SL 1, Emma Gaze (Cambridge) Firebug 2, Sandra Stanford-Soons (Auckland) El Vira 3, Kylee McCambridge (Cambridge) Chicago 4, Noni Morgan (Hastings) Starlight Discovery 5, Sally Steiner (Tauranga) Cartoon 6.

Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series: Rachel Malcolm (Cambridge) Monte Carlo MVNZ 1, Robert Steele (Dannevirke) Two Eye See 2, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Cherokee NZPH 3, Alyvia James (Cambridge) LC Taste of Diamonds 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Central Park 5, Daniel Blundell (Auckland) Fifty Shades HS 6.

Mitavite Speedi-Beet Six-Year-Old Series: Melody Matheson (Hastings) Enya MH, Kirsten Worker (Clevedon) Clearcut Xtreme, Holly Baines (Gisborne) Halo, Sophie Scott (Wellington) Glenbrooke Rich as Roses, Georgia Percy (Masterton) Double J Image, Tegan Fitzsimon (Christchurch) Campari, Alex Loiselle (Ocean Beach) Da Vinci NZPH, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Scotsmans Valley, Paula Mussen (Pukekohe) Déjà vu NZPH, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Clearview, Becky Harkerss (Christchurch) Kettle GNZ, Amelia Shotter ( ) Dallas NZPH =1.

East Coat Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Alex Loiselle (Ocean Beach) Encore NZPH, Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Eye See Ruby, Luke Dee (Hawke’s Bay) Avenger Xtreme, Hayley Morgan (Tauranga) Stardust Harlequin Revenge, Victoria Rattray (Mangatangi) Octavia MVNZ, Amanda Wilson (Hikurangi) Bellick ST, Breanna Young (Te Pahu) Delvay Amor WP, Cindy Page (Auckland) Kiwi Major Deeming, Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) Weiti Levade, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Eye Catcher NZPH, Amanda Wilson (Hikurangi) Houston ST and Carlene Reid (Taupo) Masterman =1.

Main-Events University Series: Melody Matheson (Hastings) Graffiti 1, Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) LT Eloquence 2, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Henton Faberge 3, Sophie Fisher (Cambridge) Zig Zag 4.

Dr Feelgood Icecream Area Teams’ Competition: Longridge Central and Southern Hawke’s Bay (Simon Wilson on McMillans Ariados, Maurice Beatson on Central Park and Amanda Steele on Delta Blue) 1, EquiFibre Bay of Plenty (Lucia Voss on Grand Coeur 36, Annabel Francis on Cherokee NZPH and Lucy Olphert on Eve Saint Laurent) 2, Waikato (Clarke Johnstone on Deo Volente, Christine Cornege on Varekai SL and Emily Hayward on Yandoo Lady Gold) 3, Northern Hawke’s Bay (Helen Kippen on Velocity NZPH, Melody Matheson on Illusion SSH and Trudi Mitchell on LC Autograph) 4.