Vicki Prendergast and Selena C winners of ESNZ Horse Grand Prix

Photo credit Hannah Comrie, NZ Supergroom and Photographer


Te Aroha teen Rylee Sheehan has started his 2021 off with a bang winning the Country TV Pony Grand Prix and placing second in the ESNZ Horse Grand Prix at the GJ Gardner New Year Grand Prix Show Jumping Show at Woodhill Sands this afternoon.

Both classes had relatively small fields, with the Horse Grand Prix attracting just four, and the Pony Grand Prix eight, however there was still plenty to ride for.

Fifteen-year-old Rylee aboard Bandito NZPH and Vicki Prendergast (Cambridge) on her homebred mare Selena C were the only two through to the jump-off in the horse class. Vicki was more than a little impressed with Rylee’s efforts in the deciding round and almost chose not to start.

“Rylee is no slug in the ring but Glen (Beal) suggested that if I took an inside to the double I would get him and he doesn’t normally put me wrong,” said the racehorse trainer who owns Sanderston Park.

He was absolutely bang on, and Vicki’s 39.67-second effort was comfortably ahead of Rylee’s 44.98 second round.

It was just eight-year-old Selena C’s second Grand Prix start and Vicki was chuffed with her efforts. Selena C is by Cardento VDL out of Sofee who is by Powerfee. “I just want to breed nice horses for me and my kids. Sarah (West) generally buys everything that I don’t keep and does a great job with them.”

Showjumping is purely a hobby for Vicki with her focus on the racehorses. Our Ally Cat is one of hers that is doing particularly well, having won four and about to step up to some of the bigger races in the not too distant future.

Rylee was pretty happy with the efforts of his team today, albeit slightly ruing not taking the inside option in the Horse Grand Prix.
“I am just really pleased to have a double clear with Bandito,” he said. “I am just stepping up to that level and he is new to that height too, so I know there are bigger things to achieve with him in the future.”

In the Pony Grand Prix, Rylee and the 19-year-old Tony the Pony, a former Pony of the Year winner and national pony champion, were the only combination to go clear but picked up a single time penalty in the opening round.

It is their third Pony Grand Prix victory together. “I had just done the Horse Grand Prix so comparatively, the Pony Grand Prix felt like a nice cruisy round.”

He’s grateful to Melissa Watson who not only drove him and his team to the show but also warmed him up, and Tegan Fitzsimon who he has been training with while she is based at the family property in Te Aroha.

In an unusual twist, the show held an extra round each of the Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series and Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series. Event director Angela Nobilo says COVID meant they were unable to hold them earlier and after petitioning the board on behalf of riders, they got the go ahead – much to the delight of many.

This weekend’s show attracted 240-odd horses and is fondly known as their most relaxed event of the year for Woodhill Sands. Rain overnight meant the sand arenas were spot on for competition. Wayne Bragg designed the courses in ring one, Danielle Watts in ring two and Gina Moss in ring three.


Results –


ESNZ Horse Grand Prix: Vicki Prendergast (Cambridge) Selena C 1, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 2, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Caretino Jewel 3, Glen Beal (Pukekohe) All Expenses of Renton 4.


Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 1, Katie Readings (Pukekawa) Rump Shaker 2, Cassie Topper (Whangarei) Redcliffs Wizz Bang MF 3, Grace Webb (Warkworth) Lay Z Lad 4, Zara Preece-Twose (Greenhithe) TC Piano Man 5, Zara Main (Auckland) Blue Crush 6.


FMG Young Rider Series: Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Caretino Jewel 1, Karis Spurway (New Plymouth) Kapattack 2, Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) Octavia MVNZ 3, Maddison Greatorex (Mangapai) Daisy Duke NZPH 4, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) AP Ninja 5, Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) Pythia 6.


Harrison Lane Pro-Amateur Rider Series: Scott Borland (Cambridge) SB Smokescreen 1, Carissa McCall (Taupaki) Yirrkala Zakyra 2, Rosanna Dickson (Cambridge) DSE Exuberance 3, Nicholas Beal (Pukekohe) Sacramento 4, Christine Cornege (Cambridge) Varekai SL 5, Robbie McKay (Opotiki) Jacksons Gold 6.


Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Georgia Milner (Auckland) Oaks Chifley 1, Aimee Collinson (Clevedon) Bunny Hop 2, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Charmed Escudo MSNZ 3, Anneke van Rooyen (Taumarunui) My Sassy Cat 4, Maddison Greatorex (Mangapai) Lafayet Ego Z 5, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 6.


Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Georgia Milner (Auckland) Oaks Chifley 1, Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) Blackall Park Romeo 2, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 3, Amara Green (Woodhill) LC Underberg 4, Emma Singleton (Ramarama) Equulei Cola Fizz 5, Natalia Lammers (Hikurangi) Romeo NZPH 6.


Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Kristie Mason (Auckland) Centaire 1, Sarah Twentyman (Warkworth) Moulin Rouge 2, Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) Miss Vee NZPH 3, Nicky Shore (Auckland) Carolina 4, Sarah Beal (Te Kauwhata) Y-Not 5, Jessica Trow (Whitford) Kiwi Sunup 6.


Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Danielle Stanaway (Tauranga) The Invisible Man 1, Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) Miss Vee NZPH 2, Shelley Bridgeman (Auckland) Oaks Vendetta 3, Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Chaccolilli 4, Nicky Shore (Auckland) Carolina 5, Vanessa Veart-Smith (Ahuroa) The Notorious Fez 6.


Main-Events Tertiary Series: Olivia Forster (Cambridge) Cassino du Domaine 1, Monique Balfour (Wellsford) Won of a Kind 2.


Prydes EasiFeed Horse Grand Prix Super Series: Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) Octavia MVNZ 1, Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) Pythia 2, Christine Cornege (Cambridge) Varekai SL 3, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Distinction MSNZ 4, Isabelle Jameson (Whangarei) Di Caprio CSNZ 5, Maddison Greatorex (Mangapai) Daisy Duke NZPH 6.


Burmester Realty Pony Grand Prix Super Series: Samantha-Lee Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Renegade 1, Samantha-Lee Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Sharpshooter 2, Avadee Nowell (Pakaranga) Showtym Highlight 3.


For full results, head to


January 4, 2021

By Diana Dobson