Amy Gravatt rides Totaranui Ripslinger
Totaranui Ripslinger was just home for a little break from racing when Amy Gravatt decided she was too good for the track.
“I decided to keep her,” she says of the seven-year-old mare who was bred by her parents and this season won the TiES Showjumping Series.
Her parents Jonathan and Karen Sprague raced Totaranui Ripslinger’s mum Tin Goose, picking up a third in the Auckland Cup, so were relatively chilled about their vet nurse daughter laying claim to Tilly, as she is known by her mates.
“Tilly just loves her job,” says Whangarei-based Amy. “She learns quickly, is gutsy, has a really nice technique, and great movement.”
She had been based with Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott who sent her home as a five-year-old to strengthen up a bit more. “Mum and dad still own most of her and they still had her sister racing who was a group placed filly, so it wasn’t too hard a sell!”
Amy jumped the mare as a five-year-old in the autumn then COVID hit so there was a lot of schooling done during lockdowns. They were busy in her six-year-old year, placing runner-up overall in the Beyond the Barriers competition after winning the overall mare prize and the showjumping, placing second in the working hunter and third in the paced and mannered. “She is very fine and pretty.”
Amy and Tilly were competing in the Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series this season but pulled back towards the end of the season. “We stopped chasing it because we weren’t going to win and she was almost ready to jump bigger than the amateur,” says Amy. “I wanted to prepare her for next season. For me it is more about going forwards and she tends to jump better over bigger tracks.”
She was rapt to win the TiES Series by 10 points. “It is just great that ESNZ and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing have this series so thoroughbreds are recognised in equestrian sport. They are a great breed – so versatile and really genuine. They are busy and most are performance horses rather than happy hackers, but they are just so genuine and love routine and their jobs.”
Amy is now looking towards next season. “We jumped successfully to 1.25m this season so planning on the pro-am and 1.3m next season,” she says.
This is the first season Amy has ever won. About 11 years ago she was poised to win the Pro-Am series when her horse died suddenly after walking out of the ring at Woodhill Sands. “We had just won the pro-am and I was waiting for the jump-off to finish. It was just horrific. He was also off the track. We had bred him and won the Singapore Derby, the Triple Crown and was Singapore Horse of the Year. I showjumped him after he retired (from the track) as an eight-year-old. It was so sad.”
Amy has evented to 3* level, moving to showjumping about 15 years ago. The mum of two boys who are nine and six, says it is a sport she loves. “I really only went eventing because my first hack was a good eventer but I had a few falls and a couple of injuries and it put me off a bit. It’s hard to get everything right in the same weekend for eventing!”
TiES Jumping Series: Amy Gravatt (Whangarei) Totaranui Ripslinger 42 points 1, Toni Vincent (New Plymouth) Fleckwood Smarty Arty 32 2, Kimberleigh McCabe (Invercargill) Kace 26 3, Graciey-Rose Donnithorne (Canterbury) Cavallo Marrone 18 4, Anne Marie Styles (Auckland) Tamburo 17 5, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) AP Ninja and Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) Good Timing 16 =6.
For full results, head to www.evoevents.co.nz
The Jumping Team – 10 May 2022