Eventing Northland are set to host the Keith Andrews Trucks National One Day Event Championships this coming Anzac weekend, 22-23 April at the picturesque Barge Showgrounds in Whangarei. This is the second year running for this event up in Northland – last year a hugely successful weekend was had, with the park being transformed into a world class venue to showcase the best of our sport here in NZ. This weekend promises to be just as good, and we can’t wait to get underway on Saturday morning.
The 4* and 3* tracks this year have been designed by Australia’s Grant Johnston, the 2* and 1*/1.05 by Mike Guilfoyle and the 95 track by Northlands Megan Finlayson. New fences added to the tracks this year have once again been built mostly after hours by Northlands Graham Fox, Mike Guilfoyle and capable members of the Eventing Northland crew, with dinners for the builders being supplied by committee members. The team have been building well into the night, often not heading home to ‘Hotel Wood’ (Jan and Ben Woods residence, which houses Grant, Mike and Graham when they’re in town) until 11pm or even midnight.
Once again Eventing Northland was able to offer a travel incentive to South Island riders, providing they had at least one horse entered at 2* level or above. It is fantastic that this year four riders have been able to take advantage of this. Emily Cammock and Ellie Honeybone are travelling up together, and Sonya Benison and Fabriana McQuarrie are making the long journey from the South all the way up here to the top of the North. The latter two have been competing at Pony Club Champs in Taupo, so are carrying on from there.
The small but quality field of 8 in the Portage Cars Ltd CCI4* class is spear headed by last years Champion Matthew Grayling and his seasoned campaigner, Trudeau. All the way from Taranaki Matthew will be aiming for a repeat of last years success, however he will have some strong competition. Hawkes Bay’s Christen Lane is coming hot off the back of a big win in the CCI4*S at Matamata last month with her classy homebred, Thunder Cat. Donna Edwards-Smith (Waeranga) has two rides in this class, one of which DSE Mendoza was 3rd to Christen at Matamata. Lizzie Green (Cambridge) is another with two in the class, Comanche II and Corona Extreme. Whilst this is Comanche’s first start at this level he has shown consistent form at 3*, winning both of his events in the lead up to this weekend. It is anyone’s guess who might win this class and be crowned the new National One Day Event CCI4* Champion and take home the Forest Gate Trophy.
The Waitangi Sport Horses CCI3* class has 17 starters and looks to be a competitive field. The current Three Day Event CCI3*L champion, Northlander Helen McGrath and Woodbine Magic Maze will no doubt be vying for the One Day Championship CCI3*S title, but she will be up against the likes of Bridie Quigley (Auckland) and the Northland bred Oranoa Greyson, who have had a great build up with a win in the CCN3* at Kihikihi earlier in the month. Charlotte Penny and Festival were second in this class last year and have been showing consistent form since then, and DSE Iceman and Kelly Clarke are the current National One Day CCN1* title holders. So this class is wide open and will make for some great competition.
In the Dunstan Horsefeeds CCN2* class, last years winner and the current holder of the Ferndale Trophy, Scout Lodder (Auckland) and Kingsguard will be looking to head off the other 28 starters for a repeat of last years performance, but judging by the recent successes of her competitors it will be no easy task! All the way from the South Island, Fabriana McQuarrie with Oceanic, have won their previous two starts at this level and will no doubt be wanting to stamp there mark up here in Northland. Mia Gilbert (Auckland) and Schnapps MH have been very consistent of late, with her last three starts at this level earning her two second places and a win, so she will be another to watch, and Matthew Grayling has his second horse, Henton Ambassador in this class, with whom he won the CCN2* at Central Districts earlier this month.
The sponsors of the CCN2* class, Dunstan Horsefeeds are once again very generously hosting a drinks and nibbles function for riders and sponsors straight after the finish of the CCI4* Show Jumping – a great opportunity to come and meet many of the event sponsors and mix and mingle after a long day of competition. This will be held in the ‘Woolshed’, right next to show jumping ring one.
Spectators to the event are welcome, entry is free and food and drink will be available on site. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the North!