2024 NZL-ESNZ Jumping Series Final – Taupo. Thursday 4 April 2024. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

The 2023/24 Show Jumping season drew to a close this weekend with the ESNZ Series Final Show drawing competitors from afar to capitalise on the last series points up for offer. For the first time, the show was held at the Taupo Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre in the beautiful indoor arena, under the watchful eyes of Toni & Colin McIntosh who have certainly improved and made great use of the facilities.

In a recurring theme of the season, it was most certainly Sophie Scott’s weekend. The 22 year old horsewoman from Palmerston North barely made an error all weekend. Kicking off with the Property Brokers Horse Grand Prix, she jumped six faultless rounds with her three mounts to take out the trifecta.  First out in the jump off was her new ride, Normandy GHP who, despite being new to this level, jumped round cleanly in 51.51 seconds. From then, the times only got quicker with the Silver Fern Stakes winner, Benrose Stellar finishing in a slightly quicker time of 51.43 and last to go, the seasoned Waitangi Skynet flew round in 49.55 to take the win. A win which also secured them the series title.

It has been the most unbelievable season ever with my dream team who made it all happen for me and together we achieved some unforgettable victories.

Having three jump double clear in the HGP final was an amazing way to finish the Grand Prix series and to have young talent Normandy GHP jump impressive clear two rounds to finish behind the big guns Waitangi Skynet and Benrose Stellar shows a very exciting future of what’s to come for him”.

There was no doubt that Sophie was thrilled with her results, but there was more to come. Whilst Sophie & Sky had already secured the win in The Brave Pants Premier League Series, they finished their season in style by jumping the only double clear in a tough final to convincingly take home the win. Benrose Stellar picked up four faults in each round to finish in second place in both the class and the series to conclude a dream season for Sophie.

“Waitangi Skynet showed his true class and consistency jumping the only double clear in the Premier League final to take the win with Benrose Stellar not far behind him was an amazing result to finish on.

Chasing either of the series was never a goal of mine but just seemed to happen that way which I am absolutely over the moon for Waitangi Skynet to have his name on both of the trophies he so deserved it after his amazing performances throughout the season showing how incredible he is and real consistency. Made even more special was to have Benrose Stellar finishing in second place behind him in each series!

Sophie Scott wins the Olympic Cup riding Waitangi Skynet, Land Rover Horse of the Year 2024, Tomoana Showgrounds, Hastings, New Zealand. Sunday, March 10, 2024 Copyright Photo: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

Benrose Stellar also won Top Ranking mare.

The AMS Saddlery Pony Grand Prix saw another tough class that forced an eight fault jump off with just two combinations going on to jump clear. Isla Bowley was the fastest of those with EB Esperanza, stopping the clock in 50.68 seconds, with Tessa Harrie and the very keen Perfect Little Rebel coming just behind in 51.24.

Paula Mussen and Deja Vu NZPH jumped the only clear round in the Harrison Lane Pro Am to not only win the class, but also the series. This was their seventh Pro Am win in a row, so very well deserved. The Main-Events Tertiary Final was also won on a sole clear from Aleisha Bradly and Centia, as was The Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider, and what a very special win it was for Mandy Illston on her lovely Iguazu. This was in fact the combination’s first show in two years – talk about making a comeback in style!

In the FMG Young Rider, two combinations took on the jump off course, each looking to take home the red ribbon. Meg Bisset came out first with Emmaville Dontango and gave it a good crack but sadly picked up eight faults along the way, leaving the door open for Penny Borthwick and Nikama MVNZ. Whilst Penny didn’t waste any time, she jumped a careful round to ensure the clear she needed to win.

This wasn’t Penny’s only win. The young gun from Masterton also headed a strong Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider final, this time on Double J Breeze On, jumping double clear in 41.48 seconds. Five contested the jump off with double clears also coming from Emily Ramsden and Euro Champagne and Matt Taylor on Starlight Dalaman who finished in second and third respectively. It turned out to be the battle of the Double J’s, as Penny and Tara were so close on points for the series title, it all came down to this class.  All eyes were on the last to go, Tara Gower and Double J Image and they gave it their best shot but four faults in 41.51 seconds saw them fall down the leaderboard into a very respectable fourth place. This not only gave Penny the win in the class but also the series, finishing just one point ahead of Tara!

The weekend couldn’t have finished better for Penny and the wonderful Double J Breeze On, as this was in fact their last show together as ‘Bo’ will now be retired to the broodmare paddock after a fantastic career.

“I am very grateful for the Double J Stud (Wendy Jacobs and Sam Carrington) for allowing me the opportunity to ride this very special mare who has taught me so much. It was great to finish on a high in the Junior rider and also finish second in the young rider series before Breeze On (Bo) begins her new chapter as a broodmare at Double J Stud. Throughout the season Double J Breeze On has always given it her all, with the biggest heart and a winning attitude. It has been the biggest pleasure to have the opportunity to ride her”.

Double clears came thick and fast in the NZPH & A1 Equine Reproduction 7 Year Old Final with Samantha Carrington and Double J Odin (Double J Repicharge x Ophelia NZPH/Barbarian) coming out on top, nearly four seconds quicker than second placed Kylee McCambridge on Waitangi TikTok (Kannan x Waitangi Wiki/Lansing). Anna Beth Craig and Indiana Xtreme (Corofino II x Ngahiwi Icon/Indoctro VDL) jumped a much steadier double clear to complete the podium in third place.

Clears were harder to come by in the other young horse classes. Aliya Berry & Justified NZPH (Candy de Nantuel x Frizzante NZPH/Non Plus Ultra) jumped the sole clear in the East Coast Performance Horses 5 Year Old Final and Olivia Glen on Balmoral Candyapple I GNZ (Pennsylvania x Lilly GNZ/ Carrado I) jumped the sole double clear to win the Equitak Excel 6 Year Old final, with Jaime Campbell and Parisian Affair (ES Centavos x Total Eclipse/John) picking up four faults in the jump off to finish in second place.

The show concluded with a packed dinner where the well deserved series winners were acknowledged and celebrated, we will be sharing the winners of each series over the coming days, so keep an eye out!


For full results go to www.evoevents.co.nz

The Jumping Team – 10 April 2024