Annabel Francis was a little lost for words when she and LT Holst Elizabeth came from behind to win the FMG Young Rider Series.
True to form, the 18-year-old most definitely had her sights set on winning and knew exactly what had to be done.
“Elizabeth is a very nice horse,” says Annabel. She is the daughter of the very successful LT Holst Andrea, who was pregnant with her when she arrived in New Zealand. “She is eight but seven in European years so a bit behind her age group,” says Annabel, who has only had the horse since the start of the current season but done all her young rider classes on her. “She really is a very nice horse – and she knows it. She thinks she is very special . . . and she is! She knows she is very pretty and just loves her job.”
Annabel says the mare is probably the easiest horse to deal with in her stable. “While she is just over 17hh, she doesn’t ride big.”
Annabel was chuffed to take the class. “It was a very competitive class with a lot of good young riders in it,” she said, adding that she had loved Gerrit Beker’s course, saying it had flowed nicely.
It has been a brilliant season for Annabel who earlier won the POLi Payments FEI World Cup NZ Series, and also added the POLi Payments Premier League Series to the cabinet.
In the grand final this afternoon five of the 17 starters came back for another hotly-contested jump-off. First to go double clear was Sophie Scott (Wellington) aboard Lakota, crossing the flags 36.02 seconds. Last to go was Annabel and LT Holst Elizabeth who were also clear but stopped the clock at 37.29 seconds for the runners-up slot.
FMG Young Rider Series: Annabel Francis (Taupo) 135 points 1, Sarah West (Te Aroha) 128 2, Samantha Carrington (Takapau) 125 points 3, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) 118 points 4, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) 110 points 5, Molly Buist-Brown (West Melton) 105 points 6.
FMG Young Rider Series Grand Final: Sophie Scott (Wellington) Lakota 1, Annabel Francis (Taupo) LT Holst Elizabeth 2, Brigitte Smith (Taihape) HR Lanardo 3, Kate Herdson (Auckland) Juneau SSNZ 4, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Delphine 5, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 6.
For full series results, head to www.nzequestrian.org.nz
For full class results, head to www.main-events.com
By Diana Dobson
11 April 2021