Sophie Scott rides Waitangi Skynet at the National Jumping and Show Hunter Championships.
Photo Credit: Michelle Clarke
The New Zealand National Jumping and Show Hunter Championship is underway at the Dunstan Fiber Fresh Equestrian Centre in Christchurch. While it was a rather soggy start to the prestigious show, which has been hosted in the South Island since 1996, the day cleared to near perfect conditions.
On the sidelines today was a very special spectator in Alan Hampton who started the event 26 years ago. He is chuffed to see the event he based on the same format as that used at World and European Championships, still going strong.
It’s that format that he thinks makes it so successful. The Ashburton man knew it would work, especially on the feedback from top riders of the time including John Cottle, Maurice Beatson and Harvey Wilson. “They all said it was the best because you do end up with the best horse at the end of the three days,” he said. “We start today with the speed classes and that seeds the horses and riders for the rest of the champs.”
And thanks to the patriarch of the event, there will be a trophy presented to the winner of the Pony Grand Prix Championship with the Hampton Trophy.
Scores today have been turned into faults, which riders will carry through over the coming days. The winners from today all start on zero.
There is nothing in it in the Tavendale and Partners New Zealand National Premier Horse Championship class after the opening day of competition. Eight started the class, with young gun Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) and Waitangi Skynet taking the honours in the speed round. She was last to go, and deceptively fast across the ground, crossing the flags all clear in 75.30 seconds.
“I just wanted to go clear,” said Sophie. “It was a nice flowing course out there. I am pretty pleased with him. I knew he would be the one to do it.”
Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) and Windermere Cappuccino also left everything up with their 75.39 second round, garnering them second place. Nicole White (Invercargill) and LC Samson added four to their speedy effort which saw them finish in third in 75.64 and Olivia Robertson (Queenstown) with Grandier fourth in 76.99.
There is just 4.58 faults between the top seven combinations as they head into day two of competition.
Makenzie Causer (Christchurch) and Copabella Camouflage saved the best for last in the Graham McClintock New Zealand National Grand Prix Horse Championship, heading home the 11-strong speed class.
“I wasn’t even going to do this class but I had done two Grand Prix starts so had to be brave and do it,” said the 20-year-old, who was hugely appreciative of the support of Rose Alfeld who walked the course with her and “gave me a plan”. “Speed is not his forte.”
She’s had the nine-year-old skewbald for two seasons but this is their first full season together. “I am really pleased with him.”
Makenzie and Copabella Camouflage came home all clear in 80.08 seconds, with Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) and Campari second in 80.92, Kim Best (Hawke’s Bay) with LT Holst Teacher’s Pet third in 81.87 and Samantha Whale (Hampton Downs) on Fleur DeLacour in fourth in 82.87. There is just a single rail between first and seventh.
Leeshelle Small (Ramarama) and AMS Dolce NZPH set a pace no-one could match in the June Cresswell New Zealand National 1.3m Horse Championship (sponsored by Wilcox Perla Potatoes). They were first out of the 23 combinations, coming home in 64.18 seconds. Jeremy Whale (Hampton Downs) and Bannochburn ECPH went close with their 64.31 second effort but had to settle for second with Samantha Gillies (Oamaru) aboard Lumarzo third in 67.05 and Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) aboard SB Attitude fourth in 68.01.
“I just went out and had fun,” said Leeshelle. “No-one had gone before me so I didn’t know what to expect. He was good. I just had to believe and trust in my training.”
There is less than a rail between the top six.
Penny Borthwick (Masterton) and Rednalhgih Cowan nabbed another solid win in the 11-strong Rangiora Vet Centre New Zealand Pony Championship, which is part of the Country TV Pony Grand Prix. She’s been in searing form all season with both Rednalhgih Cowan and Foxden’s Merlot, who placed fourth in the class.
“They both jumped really good,” said Penny. “We’re not the fastest but I think I kept up a good canter. It is a good start to the champs.”
Penny took the win in 67.3 seconds, with Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) and Wembleybrook Tiffany second in 67.54, Jessica Hore (Millers Flat) and Tallyho Scoundrel crossing the flags in 73.71 seconds for third, and Penny fourth aboard Foxden’s Merlot. There is just 3.29 faults between the top five combinations.
Gisborne rider Larina Dolman made short work of the Zealandia Horticulture New Zealand National 1.2m Horse Championship aboard her superstar Kiwi Lansing. They headed home a very competitive 35-strong field, crossing the flags in 57.98 seconds with Emma Gillies (Oamaru) aboard Chic Xtreme second in 58.36 and Jeremy Whale (Hampton Downs) with Jay Z GNZ third in 59.34. Jeremy actually clocked the fastest time of the class but paid for his speed with a rail to settle for third.
Larina was rapt with the win. “I actually don’t think I go that fast,” she said. “I always think I am cantering around until I look at the video afterwards.”
Fourteen-year-old Kiwi Lansing has been a star throughout his career and known for his speed and consistency. There is just a rail between the top 10 in the class for day two of competition.
The top 10 are all inside four faults.
The four day champs got underway with the age group style classes where Amy McMullan (Timaru) and Cosmopolitan ECPH won the Norwood Five-Year-Old Style Prize, Georgina Dormer (Christchurch) and G Force NZPH took out the UltraMox Six-Year-Old Style Prize, and Steffi Whittaker (Canterbury) aboard Glenbrooke Rosarno the victors in the Cheryl Bristow Bodywork Seven-Year-Old Style Class.
Competition will run through until Sunday when the national champions will be crowned.
Full results can be found on www.main-events.com .
10 February 2022