Samantha McIntosh may have ridden at the Olympic Games, World Champs and other top international shows, but she was pretty happy to notch a win this afternoon in the ESNZ Horse Grand Prix at the Hygain Feeds Rotorua Show Spring Show.
She guided the 11-year-old bay Selle Francais mare to a win in a rather star-stacked 12-strong field by .11 of a second ahead of Melody Matheson (Havelock North) and Cortaflex Graffiti MH, with Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard Windermere Cappuccino in third.
Alaid, who has been with Samantha since 2018, is one of three horses she brought back from Europe with her when she returned in June. It was the first time Alaid had competed indoors and Samantha was very pleased with her efforts. She watched Annabel Francis (Taupo) aboard Carado GHP and Tegan go in the six-strong jump-off and knew there was no time to waste over the Heather McDonald-designed course. “Annabel and Tegan weren’t mucking around and then I heard Mel had shaved three seconds off, so I knew I had to be quick,” she said. “The mare was really good – she can be excited but today she was right on the job.”
Samantha had followed the New Zealand jumping scene while based offshore but says it was good to compete against them and see where she fits in amongst it all. “You always like to go out and do well – it is the first bigger one back so everyone was interested to see new horses.”
Samantha says her horses have settled quickly into the New Zealand way of life at their Cambridge base. “They are all relatively uncomplicated so have slotted in well. They are certainly enjoying the paddock time.”
Despite coming from the hub of the international scene, she too was loving being home. “It is nice to see shows where you have all levels . . . and to sit and watch the pony rings when you have a minute.”
She was full of praise for the show which was held at the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo. “It is great to have that facility in New Zealand and the flexibility to be able to move to the indoor – it was a great decision as we did get the promised weather bomb this morning.”
It was a hotly-contested Country TV Pony Grand Prix that saw Katie Readings (Pukekawa) and Rump Shaker come out on top by the skin of their teeth ahead of Sophia Hall (Auckland) aboard TCG Centadel. Twenty-one started the class with eight coming back for the jump-off where Katie and her 13-year-old bay mare Rump Shaker crossed the flags in 30.72 seconds. Sophia and her 13-year-old grey gelding gave it their all but were just short with their 30.92-second effort. Napier teen Annie Moffett filled third and fourth respectively with Piripiri and Tane Mahuta.
Show organisers opted to split the event into two – under 18 and over 18 – because the nation was at Alert Level 2 when being put together. It called for a huge amount of work creating separate camping, ablution, and yarding areas for each show. When they first opened, entries filled quickly with preference given to series classes but once COVID restrictions were lifted, numbers were capped by the yarding available.
A forecast weather bomb saw ring one move from the grass to the indoors. Saturday was held in brilliant weather, but torrential rain and gusty wind saw lots of scratchings and no-shows at the two outside rings.
ESNZ Horse Grand Prix: Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) Takapoto Alaid de Chez Nous 1, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) Cortaflex Graffiti MH 2, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Windermere Cappuccino 3, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Carado GH 4, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Bravado Ego Z 5, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Campari 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Katie Readings (Pukekawa) Rump Shaker 1, Sophia Hall (Auckland) TCH Centadel 2, Annie Moffett (Napier) Piripiri 3, Annie Moffett (Napier) Tane Mahuta 4, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 5, Liv Teixeira (Kerikeri) EB Esperanza 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Leeshelle Small (Ramarama) AMS Glenbrooke Archie Bunker 1, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Veroana 2, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Ziggy Stardust GNZ 3, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Belischi HM 4, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Cherokee NZPH 5, Olivia Dalton (Karaka) Cil Dara Bonaparte 6.
Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Georgia Milner (Auckland) Icebreaker MP 1, Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) Octavia MVNZ 2, Amelia Newsom (Tauranga) LC Taste of Diamonds 3, Annie Moffett (Napier) Samantha the Dachshund 4, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Distinction MSNZ 5, Isabella Narracci (Hastings) Silver Casini 6.
Harrison Lane Pro Amateur Rider Series: Jaime Campbell (Auckland) Numero Uno Xtreme 1, Vicki Prendergast (Matamata) Selena C 2, Laura McGregor (Auckland) High Command 3, Christen Lane (Waiwhare) Henton Armada 4, Holly Rose (Taupo) Pampero 5, Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) Bannockburn ECPH 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Jeremy Clark (Cambridge) Dynavyte Ipso Facto 1, Simone McConnell (Tauranga) Country Zena 2, Jo Bell (Taupo) Mauve 3, Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Chaccolilli 4, Jeremy Clark (Cambridge) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 5, Scott Borland (Hamilton) SB Smokescreen 6.
Matthews Hanoverian Seven-Year-Old Series: Sam Whale (Cambridge) Fleur DeLacour 1, Charlotte Francis (Taupo) Chic Xtreme 2, William Willis (Karaka) Charlize MS 3, Kate Herdson (Clevedon) Juneau SSNZ 4.
Ultramox Six-Year-Old Series: Daniel Webb (Hunterville) WSH Apache IV 1, Mackenzie Barclay (Taupo) Corolitta ECPH 2, Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Chaccolilli 3, Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) LT Holst Zalato Blue 4, Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Braveheart 5, Daniel Webb (Hunterville) WSH Astros 6.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Samantha-Lee Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Icebreaker 1.
Full results are available at www.equestrianentries.co.nz
By Diana Dobson
27 September 2020