Rachel Malcolm pulled off a lifetime dream this evening, winning the UltraMox Lady Rider of the Year aboard a horse she has produced herself.
The Cambridge horsewoman headed home 26 combinations to win the historic Merrylegs Trophy. In the field were former two-time winners Julie Davey (Hastings) and Lisa Coupe (Cambridge).
In the opener of the Werner Deeg-designed course, it was 12 combinations until the first clear jumping round came from Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard her 20-year-old stalwart Alacazam MH but they did pick up a single time penalty. Five combinations later Drew Carson (Putaruru) rode the round of her life aboard Winston V Driene to come home with a clean slate. Nakeysha Lammers (New Plymouth) and Balboa NZPH were clear with a single time penalty, and then Rachel Malcolm aboard Monte Carlo MVNZ notched a clear followed by another single time penalty round from Sarah West (Matamata) on Delamerie Sun.
Eight came back for the second round, each carrying their penalties through. First out was Rachel Malcolm aboard Tash Brooks’ Twerk who added four to their five from the first to finish on nine faults. Fourteen-year-old Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) and Caretino Jewel added another four to sit on eight while Julie Davey and Ngahiwi Stone finished the two rounds on 16 faults. Tegan opted for a strategic clear and added another single time penalty to finish on two. Sarahpicked up another four to sit on five while Nakeysha rode a stunning clear to finish on a single time penalty from the two rounds. Drew added a time penalty too for a total of one, leaving all the pressure on Rachel who needed a double clear for the win.
They struggled their way through the double but, by her own admission, luck was on her side and everything stayed in the cups for the only completely clean slate of the class.
Rachel had her first child Oliver five-and-a-half months ago. “I am just thrilled. It is really neat to have a little side kick at the shows now.” But she was quick to credit the efforts of her whole team.
“This is right up there for me,” she said. “When you are young you watch all your idols out there doing the Lady Rider . . . it has taken me to 30 but I have finally done it and it’s great. He has a lot of character,” she says of Monte Carlo MVNZ. “He is quirky but loves jumping those coloured poles.”
Rachel and Monte Carlo MVNZ have previously won the Six-Year-Old of the Year title at HOY and Rachel also claimed a Young Rider crown earlier in her career.
Finishing second today was Nakeysha Lammers with Drew third and Tegan fourth.
UltraMox Lady Rider of the Year: Rachel Malcolm (Cambridge) Monte Carlo MVNZ 1, Nakeysha Lammers (New Plymouth) Balboa NZPH 2, Drew Carson (Putaruru) Winston V Driene 3, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Alacazam MH 4, Sarah Wests (Matamata) Delamerie Sun 5, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Caretino Jewel 6.
By Diana Dobson
12 March 2020