Philip Steiner and Cassina Dior are on their way to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final. The Tauranga combo are in Melbourne, and head to Europe in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, bound for Amsterdam.
“It’s pretty exciting,” says the dad of three. “I have had a couple of moments where I have been excited but the rest of the time was pretty nerve-wracking just getting everything organised.”
He and wife Sally have a small farm and run a busy trucking business. “The kiwifruit season is upon us so that’s been testing,” he says. But he has long time employee Marcus Rose taking the hot seat and has brought others onboard.
In his quiet and very understated way, he admits it “pretty neat” to be heading off with a silver fern on his chest. “It is pretty cool. There will be guys there I knew when I was riding in Switzerland and saw them ride their first Grand Prix . . . now they are no.1 in the world.”
Phillip and Cassina Dior won the right to represent New Zealand at the world final when they headed home the POLiPayments-sponsored series by five points from Sophie Scott, who won the New Zealand league final earlier this month. The timing of the Kiwi league with just eight weeks between the New Zealand final and the world final, brings with it unique challenges, including flights to the other side of the world. “There is no real way around it though,” he says.
While it was Phillip’s first series win, he’s not the first in his household to have the honour, with wife Sally previously winning it, but not taking the opportunity to head away for the world final. Sally, along with children James, Oliver and Francie, coach Greg Best, as well as Cassina Dior’s breeder Pip McCarroll will all be in Omaha, Nebraska, for the world final in early April. Before then, Phillip plans to attend a couple of 2* shows in Belgium.
He and the mare will be based with friends in The Netherlands. “They are breeders and bred All In and Picabello. They’ve got an indoor and an outdoor, so it will be a good base for us.”
He and Cassina Dior will head straight back to Europe after the final where he hopes to ride in the Nations Cup team at Kroonenberg in Germany in late May. Then it will be time to reassess before moving forward.
He extended a huge thanks to all those who had helped in getting him on the plane, including Sally, their children, and so many more.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Kampic