All eyes will be on Olympian Maurice Beatson and his mount Central Park to see if their purple patch of form continues when they take on nine other showjumpers in the POLi Payments FEI World Cup CSIW1* at the Taupo Christmas Classic.
They’ve been in searing form of late, bagging their 211th Grand Prix win. He’s not one to shout from the rooftops, but even he admits the season is going “pretty good”. They won the last World Cup qualifier at Takapoto Estate in November and are currently sitting in second spot on the leaderboard, just three points adrift of three time series winner Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) and Windermere Cappuccino. Tegan won’t be making the long trek up from her South Island base for the Taupo qualifier.
Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) and Philip Steiner (Tauranga) sit in third equal spot on the leaderboard, a single point behind Maurice, with two time final winner Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) another five back.
All are entered at Taupo. Sophie and Waitangi Skynet have only been together for just over a year. They’ve been top five in all six of their World Cup starts, including a win in Hastings last December. The horse has competed in World Cups on both sides of the Tasman.
Philip and Cassina Dior won the season opener for the New Zealand league and successfully campaigned in Australia over the winter months.
Brooke and LT Holst Andrea also headed across the Tasman to compete during the winter and are regulars in the top four in the New Zealand league.
Daniel Blundell (Auckland) and Cadenza NZPH have had four World Cup starts over two seasons, with fifth their best in the season opener in October. Samantha van Lierde and Cadillac NZPH also have a handful to their credit, with Vicki Prendergast (Matamata) and Selena C looking to consolidate at this level and better their fourth place best effort in the final last season.
Sam Whale (Hampton Downs) and Fleur DeLacour are relative newcomers to World Cups, having had their first start last month, while Julie Davey (Hastings) will be lining up two debutants in LT Holst Freda and Just D.
Saturday’s Pip Howells-designed qualifier will be held in the indoor arena at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre in Taupo.
The New Zealand league runs over five rounds, with the best four to count towards overall standings. The Taupo qualifier will be followed by one in Dannevirke (January 8), with the final in Hawera (January 28), carrying 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.
Leaderboard after two rounds –
Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) 34 points 1, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 31 2, Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) and Philip Steiner (Tauranga) 30 =3, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) 25 5, Daniel Blundell (Auckland) and Samantha van Lierde (Cambridge) 21 =6
WHAT: POLi Payments FEI World Cup CSIW1*
WHERE: Taupo Christmas Classic at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre
WHEN: Saturday, December 17, 2022
LIVESTREAM: Taupo NEC Jumping on Facebook
ENTRIES AND RESULTS:
14 December 2022