The POLi Payments World Cup (NZ) Series heads to Feilding this weekend for the second round of the highest-ranked showjumping competition in the nation.
Two-time series winner Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) who won the opener at Hawera last month will be looking to continue the run aboard her very special horse Windermere Cappuccino.
It’s a compact seven-strong field but none-the-less there’s plenty of talent lining up. Tegan and her 11-year-old New Zealand warmblood gelding had their first ever World Cup start in 2018 at Hawera, and their victory at the same grounds this year was the fourth on the trot. Their scorecard is completely single digits and they are rarely out of the top three with seven wins to date.
Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and LT Holst Andrea, who have twice won the New Zealand World Cup final were fourth in the opener. The 14-year-old Holsteiner mare, the current holder of the Olympic Cup as showjumper of the year, had her first World Cup start in 2017 and earlier in 2021 competed in the Australian League where she placed fourth at Gatton.
Former series winner Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) is in on his 10-year-old warmblood Central Park. The combination have been doing World Cup classes since October 2020 and placed fifth at the opener in Hawera.
Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) and her nine-year-old warmblood Glenbrooke Rich as Roses placed sixth in their first-ever World Cup start at Hawera last month and she also has Waitangi Skynet entered. While it will be their first World Cup together, the 15-year-old grey warmblood/thoroughbred cross has previously competed successfully at this level with Australian James Arkins.
Daniel Webb (Hunterville) and the 10 year-old warmblood/thoroughbred cross WSJ Centaur did their first World Cup in October 2020 and placed third at Hawera the other day in just their second start.
Melody Matheson (Havelock North) is no stranger to World Cups but her nine-year-old grey Hanoverian mare Cortaflex Enya MH will be having her first start at this level.
Course designer Kevin Hansen, who also challenged the riders in the opener at Hawera, says it will be quite a different course at Feilding.
“Being an indoor, it makes it a very different type of competition,” he says. The open fence surrounds of the arena add to the challenge. “Horses come off walls rounded and moving in the right direction but because it is open you have to give them another meter or two. They really need 20m to come off a corner and into a fence. You have to allow that all the time at Manfeild, so that’s an extra consideration here.”
Kevin felt there was enough class to build it up to a good standard and he’s planning on a free flowing course that riders will need to think about but will certainly enjoy. “It is going to be an exciting competition.”
The FEI level 3 designer said COVID had made for a tough season on riders and event organisers. “The riders are putting up with a lot and I do feel sorry for them. What Tegan has done is amazing. She comes up here (from the South Island), changes her whole life to base here and to have events cancel around her with so much uncertainty must be so frustrating.”
Kevin first started designing courses in 1976, had a bit of a break in the mid 2000s but did a lot of building during his four-and-a-half years in Australia, and particularly indoor courses. “I am a better designer now than what I was,” he says. “I can read the horses and riders better now and work out what to do. I do enjoy it. I love it when I am out there doing it. It is my ticket to the sport and what I do these days for equestrian. My course designing gets me back to my roots in the sport.”
The POLi Payments World Cup class is scheduled to go late on Saturday afternoon.
POLi Payments World Cup (NZ) Series leaderboard (after one round) – Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) 20 points 1, Phillip Steiner (Tauranga) 17 2, Daniel Webb (Hunterville) 15 3, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) 13 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 12 5, Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) 11 6, Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) 10 7, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) 9 8.
WHAT: Feilding I, A and P Show – including the POLi Payments World Cup
WHEN: December 3-4, 2021
WHERE: Manfeild Park, Feilding
December 2, 2021