NZ's best head to Takapoto for top competition
COVID-19 may be putting a halt to fluid offshore travel but that hasn’t stopped an international flavour at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping.
New Zealand’s iconic boutique show kicks off tomorrow morning, running through to Sunday. The first week of competition was cancelled due to COVID-19 Alert Levels but it is all go this week with the nation’s best combinations including local Oliver Croucher and Waitangi Surf (pictured above, photo Cheleken Photography) heading to Lake Karapiro.
Frenchman Michel Ismalun, who travelled to New Zealand last year for the 2020 show, will be designing the courses for the silver and gold tours from afar. A writer, trainer and former rider, Michel has designed courses the world over, including as part of the team for the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014.
“It’s nice we can still have that international flare given how difficult times are at the moment,” says show director Mikayla Plaw. “It was super disappointing to cancel the first week but safety was key and given the distances some riders were travelling, the call had to be made early.”
The Takapoto team have added the young horse classes to the week two schedule, which is starting a day earlier than initially planned. Riders will compete in tours – gold, silver, bronze and copper – with qualifiers whittling the fields down to only the best for the finals. Gerrit Beker will design the courses in the Land Rover Premier Arena, with Eryn Duffy in the Dunstan Sand Arena and Olympic silver medallist Greg Best of Hawke's Bay tasked with the courses for the young horse classes.
While the competition will be red hot across the grades, the social side of the show is definitely not-to-be missed but tickets fly out the door.
“We look forward to celebrating with everyone at the sell-out APL Cocktail Party on Saturday night,” says Mikayla.
There is also the very exclusive Farm to Table dining experience on Thursday evening which features locally-sourced food, including much from Takapoto Estate, matched with wines. The chefs look to use only produce that is organic or spray free, and sustainable farmed. “These dishes are a reflection of our shared ethos for creating honest, seasonal creations that are packed full of flavour.”
Sunday’s Grand Prix VIP Finals Lunch is always popular for both corporate hosting or just wining and dining with friends and family while watching what promises to be a thrilling Gold Tour Final.
Held at Takapoto Estate on the outskirts of Cambridge on the banks of Lake Karapiro, the show brings a taste of Europe to New Zealand and while a treat for riders, it is equally a destination for those who like to watch top competition in comfort.