Sophie Scott rides Waitangi Skynet to win NZ Grand Prix Championship. Photo by Michelle Clarke Photography
Sophie Scott’s season just keeps getting better. The 21-year-old from Palmerston North this afternoon added the national horse grand prix crown to her trophy cabinet at the Tavendale and Partners New Zealand National Jumping and Show Hunter Championships in Christchurch.
It was a compact field for the Wilcox Perlas Potatoes NZ Grand Prix Championship (part of the EvoEvents Horse Grand Prix Series) but Sophie and her very in-form Waitangi Skynet left the rest of the field in their wake throughout the five gruelling rounds of competition riding off with the prestigious Mary Daly Trophy for her efforts.
“He is the best ever,” Sophie said of her grey gelding. “I have only been with him a couple of seasons but he is consistent, tries so hard, and loves his job.”
The combination last month secured the POLi Payments World Cup final and have been in searing form all season. Last year the combination won the premier crown which was not contested at the 2023 National Championships. Tyler McKee (Gore) and Corrida were second today, with Oliver Croucher (Cambridge) rounding out a great champs in third place aboard Kingslea Couture.
Dreams came true this afternoon for Molly Smith (Geraldine) who with Vapour Trail NZPH pulled off the perfect clear round to take the honours in the Zealandia Horticulture NZ Pony Championship Title (part of the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series) in the final round this afternoon. “We are heading to the North Island in a couple of weeks to finish the season up there, but this is a great way to round out our South Island season,” she said. “It is something I have been dreaming of since I started showjumping so this is pretty special.” She thanked her “amazing” mum Kelly and the support crew who helped her every step of the way.
Finishing second was Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) aboard Larabell, with Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) and Twyst & Shout in third.
The Crawford Hill Jewellery NZ National Five-Year-Old crown (part of the East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series) was whittled down to just three combinations, with Nicole White (Invercargill) and Danny DeVito ECPH (by Dallas VDL out of a Cardento VDL mare) just too good for the rest, coming home double clear 43.01 seconds with Amy McMullan (Timaru) aboard Copacabana GNZ (by Lordano out of a Lindberg des Hayettes mare) second on four faults in 42.41. Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) and AH Californian Dreaming (by Euro Sport Centavos out of a Littorio mare) were third with two time penalties in the opening round.
Nicola bought the horse as a two-year-old from the Booth family at East Coast Performance Horses. “He’s known as the BFG in our house and I absolutely love him,” she says. “He’s big and is still very much growing but I am super excited for him to grow and progress and step up the heights in the future.”
Danny DeVito ECPH was bred by East Coast Performance Horses and is owned by Karen White.
Farrier Jack Ford (Kaikoura) and Masaii Mara GNZ (by Cartell GNZ out of a Littorio mare) won the NZPH and A1 Equine Reproduction NZ National Six-Year-Old (part of the UltraMox Six-Year-Old Series) after a head-to-head jump-off against Nic Grant (Canterbury) on Goldfinch GNZ (by Pennsylvania out of a Distlefink mare). Jack took the first but settled to finish on four faults for his 46.36 second round while Nic came home with eight faults in 46.52. Ella-Rae Wood (Greymouth) and TMS Annabella (by Cashassini II out of a Voltaire II mare) filled third spot as the fastest four faulter from the seven-strong opening round.
It is Jack’s first New Zealand title, although he has been in the line-ups before. “It is pretty awesome,” he says. Jack got the mare as a four-year-old and she’s been competitive from the get-go. “She is super brave and honest.”
But they almost didn’t start in the final. “I walked the course and thought it was pretty big but thought I would just see how she warmed up. She loved it out there and really stepped up.”
The mare is very sassy and food driven. “When she sees a jump she just gets on with her job.”
Masaii Mara GNZ was bred by Lindsay Thoroughgood and is owned by Jack.
It only took a single clear round for Oliver Croucher (Cambridge) and Ricochet MVNZ (by Kannan out of a Cassini I mare) to take the Canterbury Equine Clinic NZ National Seven-Year-Old (part of the Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series). Eight combinations started the class but time proved a challenge, with six picking up faults. Georgina Dormer (Christchurch) and G Force NZPH (by Air Jordan Z out of a Cabdula du Tillard mare) were second with a single time penalty and Emily Cammock (Christchurch) third aboard Zealand Blue HSH (by Zirocco Blue VDL out of an Acodetto mare) with two time penalties.
Oliver says the horse has a very bright future. He was bred by Wendy Kedell at Mount View Sport Horses and is owned by Northridge Stud. He’s had the horse about a year and says he’s certainly come a long way since then.
“He is a very cool dude,” said Oliver. “He always gives you enough each time but continues to give more and more. I think he will surprise us all.” The combination also won the Canterbury Equine Clinic Seven-Year-Old Style Prize on the opening day of the championships.
In the rider classes the Team Victoria NZ National Young Rider (part of the FMG Young Rider Series) went the way of Francesca Corich (Paraparaumu) and Bannockburn ECPH; the Majestic Horse Floats NZ National Junior Rider (part of the Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series) was won by Emma Gillies (Oamaru) and Benrose Black Jack; with Steffi Whittaker (Christchurch) aboard Carpe Diem taking out the Team Victoria NZ National Pro-Am Rider (part of the Harrison Lane Pro-Am Rider Series; and Ashley Konig (Christchurch) and L’heure du vin winning the Love Racing NZ National Amateur Rider (part of the Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series).
In the championship classes, Oliver Croucher (Cambridge) and Galliano won the Crombie Lockwood June Cresswell NZ 1.3m Horse; Molly Buist-Brown (Christchurch) and Payback notched a perfect score to win the Tavendale and Partners NZ 1.2m Horse; Lauren Wood (Motueka) rode off with the Hilton Press NZ 1m Pony aboard Dingmac Dark Mocha; Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) and Pioneer Firefly took out the NZB Airfreight NZ 1m Horse; Maddison Thompson and Cassilita the Wade Equine Coaches NZ 1.1m Horse; and Casey-Lee Gubb (Timaru) aboard Bespoke the Rangiora Vet Centre NZ 1.1m Pony.
In the show hunter arena, Kirsty Ogilvie (Christchurch) and Shoot the Breeze won the Cheryl Bristow Bodywork NZ National Open Title; with the Carston Racing NZ National Amateur Title going to Melanie Morris (Loburn) aboard Kosciuszko; and Samantha Gillies (Oamaru) with Socrates De La Ve Z taking the Angel Divine NZ National Junior Show Hunter Title.
The Vero Insurance NZ National Cat A Pony crown went to Violet France (Canterbury) aboard Sarbec Solomon Song; Anna Smith (Wyndham) aboard Starlight Smarda won the Crichel Downs Potato Ltd – Guy and Jane Slater NZ National Cat B Pony Title; and the Josh Whittaker Equine Dental NZ National Cat C Pony Title went to Eva Wylaars (Christchurch) on My Buffalo Soldier.
For full results, head to www.main-events.com
12 February 2023