Taupo teen Annabel Francis grabbed an impressive double today taking out both the POLi Payments FEI World Cup (NZ) final and series in an action-packed class at a very gusty and sometimes squally Giltrap Audi World Cup Festival at Woodhill Sands in Auckland. She is one of the youngest to ever win New Zealand’s highest-ranked international series.
“It is so unexpected,” said a rather emotional Annabel. “I am very happy and it amazing to have won.”
It was the third World Cup class she has won this season, but in the other two she nominated the wrong horse so didn’t get valuable points. “I knew I just had to jump a clear round in the second. He has felt good all show and really wanted to win today.”
Nine stepped up to tackle the Gerrit Beker-designed course for the two-round competition. Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) started the class with a bang, with a stunning clear aboard Henton Faberge. Olympian Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) and Takapoto Alaid de Chez Nous were unlucky to be stopped mid round when massive gusts of wind knocked several fences down.
The combination had quite a wait while the ring crew worked to secure the jumps before getting the nod to restart her round part way through the course. An early rail on that restart saw Samantha tip her hat to the judges and retire.
Annabel picked up four faults apiece with both Carado GHP and La Quinara, as did Melody Matheson (Havelock North) aboard Cortaflex Graffiti MH. Logan Massie (Dannevirke) aboard the stallion Bravado Ego Z and Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) with Fiber Fresh Veroana had eight faults each.
“It was certainly stressful having that rail as I knew there were a lot of good combinations coming back,” said Annabel, who is trained by Jeff McVean.
Judges brought back six combinations on eight faults or less for the second round. Missing out was series leader Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) who picked up eight jump faults and a single time penalty for a total of nine aboard Campari in the opener. At just eight, Campari was the baby of the field and Tegan was unable to start her two-time series winner Windermere Cappuccino due to injury.
“It is just such a shame I couldn’t start Vollie (Windermere Cappuccino),” said Tegan. “Campari tried really hard and it was a big track for an eight-year-old. It is bittersweet.”
Also missing the cut for the second round was two-time final winner Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and LT Holst Andrea having an uncharacteristic 12 faults after dropping three fences.
In the second round Annabel knew she had to go clear on Carado GHP to secure the series, and they did just that, notching the only clear of the second round. “I thought I had the first rail but he just jumped amazing. I just tell myself to focus and keep calm . . . and not to crack under pressure.” She has plenty of love for her Australian-import. “I love his character. He adores a crowd and likes to know everyone is watching him.”
Melody and Cortaflex Graffiti MH were awarded the Cornege Photography best presented combination from this morning’s trot-up. She was very pleased with her mare. “She is probably feeling the best ever and has been so consistent this season. She feels like she is meant to be jumping this height. I was just hoping for a podium finish, so this is great.” As well as the best presented, they placed second in the class and third in the series.
Today’s World Cup final is the last to be designed by Gerrit Beker who is bowing out at the end of the season.
The six-round series has been held across the North Island, with just the top four counting towards overall standings in the series. The winner of the New Zealand league usually has the chance to represent the nation at the Longines FEI World Cup Final which is scheduled to be held March 31-April 5, 2021, in Gothenburg Sweden, but with a global pandemic whether it goes ahead or not is uncertain.
Annabel says she will wait and see what pans out before making a final decision on whether she would go to the final or not.
POLi Payments FEI World Cup (New Zealand league) Final (sponsored by Giltrap Audi): Annabel Francis (Taupo) Carado GHP 1, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) Cortaflex Graffiti MH 2, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Veroana 3, Annabel Francis (Taupo) La Quinara 4, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Bravado Ego Z 5, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Henton Faberge 6.
POLi Payments FEI World Cup Series final standings: Annabel Francis (Taupo) 79 points 1, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) 75 points 2, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) 69 points 3.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix (sponsored by T&M Nurseries): Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 1, Madison Jackson (Auckland) Rednalhgih Cowan 2, Zara Preece-Twose (Auckland) TC Pianoman 3, Liv Teixeira (Kerikeri) EB Esperanza 4, Keira Page (Cambridge) Redcliffs Colour Me In 5, Julianne Revfeim (New Plymouth) Spot You Later 6.
FMG Young Rider Series (sponsored by VetPro): Annabel Francis (Taupo) Cherokee NZPH 1, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Henton Faberge 2, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) AP Ninja 3, Annabel Francis (Taupo) LT Holst Elizabeth 4, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 5, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Ziggy Stardust GNZ 6.
Harrison Lane Pro-Amateur Rider Series (sponsored by Torque Digital): Tors Rattray (Mangatangi) Versace NZPH 1, Kylee McCambridge (Cambridge) Chicago 2, Laura McGregor (Auckland) Ngahiwi Double Cross 3, Tim Featherstone (Kerikeri) Bellagio NZPH 4, Scott Borland (Cambridge) SB Smokescreen 5, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) Westminster Rock 6.
Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series (sponsored by Skeates Tree Contractors): Samantha Whale (Cambridge) Fleur DeLacour 1, Oliver Croucher (Cambridge) Takapoto Casanova Xtreme 2, Rachel Malcolm (Cambridge) Onessa MVNZ 3, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Chic Xtreme 4, Kate Herdson (Auckland) Juneau SSNZ 5, William Willis (Karaka) Charlize MS 6.
UltraMox Six-Year-Old Series (sponsored by Williamson Water & Land Advisory): Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) LT Holst Zalato Blue, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Fiesta NZPH, Kristi Salonius (Cambridge) MF Starbound =1.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Edward Bullock (Waiuku) Kiwi Sundance, Maddison Greatorex (Waipu) Groove Girl PSH, Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) Takapoto Tinka, Kate Hewlett (Kerikeri) Redcliffs Guns and Roses =1.
Main-Events Tertiary Series: Kate Herdson (Auckland) Juneau SSNZ 1, Alayna Rogers (Waihi) Gruffy 2.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series (sponsored by Rose Flats Equestrian): Kristie Mason (Auckland) Centaire 1, Danielle Stanaway (Tauranga) The Invisible Man 2, Sarah Twentyman (Warkworth) Moulin Rouge 3, Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Chaccolilli 4, Georgina Forsyth (Clevedon) Catapult Xtreme 5, Catherine Fawcett-McNaughton (Pukekohe) Golden Girl MVNZ 6.
Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series (sponsored by Burnetts Transport): Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) Blackall Park Romeo 1, Madison Smith (Cambridge) Biarritz 2, Liam Rutland (Cambridge) Kiwi Delux 3, Georgia Milner (Auckland) Oaks Chifley 4, Karis Spurway (Taranaki) Kapattack 5, Lucas Bremner (Northland) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 6.
For full results, head to www.main-events.com .
Diana Dobson, 17 January 2021