New Zealand’s highest-ranked showjumping series kicks off on Friday afternoon, with the opening round of the POLi Payments FEI World Cup Series in Hastings.
All eyes are likely to be on a trio of combinations who each crossed the Tasman in the offseason to compete in the Australian World Cup League – three-time New Zealand series winner Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard Windermere Cappuccino, two-time New Zealand final winner and current Horse of the Year title holder, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) with LT Holst Andrea, and Philip Steiner (Tauranga) with Cassina Dior.
Tegan and Windermere Cappuccino did their first World Cup in 2019 at Hawera, winning on debut, and have never looked back. Their single digit results include 10 wins. In August they placed third in their first offshore World Cup start, at Sydney.
“It will be good to get the World Cup season underway again,” said Tegan, who bases in the Waikato while in the North Island. “Our whole season is planned around this series. It was great to see how good our New Zealand riders stacked up against the Australians, but it is always good to compete on home ground.”
The South Island combination come in as defending champs, having won the 2021-2022 series, along with the 2019-2020 and 2018-2019.
Brooke too is raring to go. They were fourth in the Caboolture World Cup (AUS), also picking up other good results in Australia. Their first-ever World Cup was in Hastings in 2017, and the mare has been very consistent since.
“She jumped so well in Australia and has come back and freshened up well. I hope we can continue our consistency,” said Brooke, who is excited to have her first season in full ownership of Andrea.
Philip and Cassina Dior only did their first World Cup in November 2021 where they placed second, and were also second in Dannevirke earlier this year. They did well across the Tasman, placing seventh in the Tamworth World Cup qualifier and eighth in the Sydney qualifier, as well as placing second in a $40,000 Grand Prix at Willinga Park.
“I was really pleased with her over there,” said Philip, saying it has filled him with confidence heading into the new season. He’s had the mare since she was three-and-a-half.
“This season I will be looking for consistency from her, and will just do selected starts given she has already had two months’ competition in Australia.”
It’s a 11-strong field on the card for Hawke’s Bay who will be tested by international course designer Kevin Hansen (Morrinsville). Also entered is Olympian and World Championships representative Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke), who has ridden at the World Cup Final years ago. He will compete aboard Central Park who has really started to show some form in the past season or so, making the top five in their last five World Cup starts.
Young gun Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) is one to watch. She is in on Waitangi Skynet. The duo have done four World Cup qualifiers together, including a win at Hastings last year. Skynet was previously campaigned in World Cup classes by Australian representative James Arkins.
Also entered are Daniel Blundell (Auckland) on Cadenza NZPH, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) and Henton Faberge, Robert Steele (Dannevirke) on LT Holst Bernadette, Samantha van Lierde (Cambridge) with Cadillac NZPH, Daniel Webb (Hunterville) aboard WSJ Centaur and Vicki Wilson (Hawke’s Bay) on Carpaccio TWS.
The New Zealand league runs over five rounds, with the best four to count towards overall standings. The next round will be held at Takapoto Estate in the Waikato (November 5), followed by Taupo (December 17), and Dannevirke (January 8), with the final in Hawera (January 28), which carries extra points.
The winner of the New Zealand league has the opportunity to travel to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup final in Omaha, Nebraska, in early April.
WHAT: POLi Payments FEI World Cup (NZ League) Series – opening round
WHERE: Hawke’s Bay A&P Show, Hastings
WHEN: Friday, October 21, 2022
ENTRIES AND RESULTS: https://www.evoevents.co.nz/resultClass/2135884817/2021/8
19 October 2022