• Thrilling jump-offs and hot competition at HOY

Thrilling jump-offs and hot competition at HOY

South Islanders continue to star at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show in Hastings, with two of today’s showjumping titles classes heading across the strait.

Christchurch’s Johanna Wylaars won the FMG Young Rider of the Year crown aboard Penny and Mike Tapley’s Campari, with Wanaka teen Sophie Fountain blitzing the competition to win the Speed Pony of the Year on My Tirohanga Delight. Taranaki’s Tanya Hansen and Ngahiwi Specter won the Harrison Lane Pro Am Rider of the Year.

Six clears from the 25-strong original start list came back for the second round where no one managed to cross the flags with a clean slate. Both Johanna and Charlotte Conder aboard Kiwi Bonus sat on four faults apiece, but the Christchurch rider’s quicker time saw her win the day. Initially it was announced there would be a jump-off but then it was decided it came down to time with the equal faults.

The first three combinations in the second round had eight or more faults. Charlotte took a single rail in her 54.16 second round. She was followed by Emma Gillies and Benrose Black Jack who were always going to be one to watch, but it wasn’t their day and they were eliminated after jumping the wrong fence.

Johanna had the luxury of being the last to go and knew just what had to be done. She was going for the steady clear when a rail dropped, so picked up the pace to come home in 45.17 seconds to secure the Big Red Trophy.

It was an emotional prize giving for Johanna, who is currently leading the FMG Young Rider Series, and she struggled to get her thank yous out to all who supported her.

The 17-year-old was “pretty stoked” with the efforts of the horse she’s ridden for just five months.

“I knew Alfie (Campari) had the stamina to go the rounds needed,” she said. It’s her first ever HOY title.

“It’s pretty special to win on him. He’s very cheeky but fun to have around though. I am very grateful to have the ride.”

Taranaki mum Tanya Hansen notched the only double clear of the Harrison Lane Pro Am Rider of the Year to win the very hotly contested class aboard her beloved Ngahiwi Specter.

Sixteen started the class with six combinations going clear and welcomed back for the second round over the Roger Laplanche designed course. Just five opted to start, with Tanya in pole position as last to go. Ahead of her Samantha Megchelse aboard Rata Mill Eclipse and Shanae McKay on ME Joy Ride II had each bagged four faults over the lovely flowing course.

“I thought I had taken a rail. I had no idea I had won the class,” said Tanya. “It is extremely special to win today,” she said. “It means the world to me to win on a horse I have had from the start and done everything on.”

She got Harvey, as he’s known at home, as a two-year-old. “He can’t swallow properly and I was told to put him down but I had just fallen for him. I usually do sell horses but I could never part with Harvey. He is my best friend and I do love him. If I have a bad day at work, he brightens things up.”

Sophie Fountain had one goal for My Tirohanga Delight at their first Land Rover Horse of the Year Show and that was to win the Speed Pony of the Year crown . . . . consider it done.

The 15-year old from Wanaka was just too fast for the opposition, finishing more than six seconds faster than runner-up Sally Peffers aboard All That Jazz, with Anna Wilson and Redcliffs Bill third.

There were plenty on the sideline to celebrate the win, with mum and dad Leigh and Dan, grandparents Sue and Charlie Cockrell, grandmother Glenys Fountain, aunty Emma and eight-year-old Deli’s breeder Monique Bennett all there to cheer them on.

This is Sophie’s first full season showjumping aboard Deli who has only been with her just under a year. “We came here just for this class and it is so cool to walk away with the win is just amazing,” said Sophie, who became the inaugural winner of the Bizzy Canoodling Cup. “The plan was to give it my best shot and see how fast I could go.”

The Horse of the Year Show continues tomorrow with the start of the dressage test in the Oceania Eventing Challenge in the morning and the Silver Fern Stakes late in the afternoon.  Saturday is cross country day and Sunday cup day when the biggest trophies of the show are awarded.

Caption: Johanna Wylaars rides Campari to victory in the Young Rider of the Year class. Photo by Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC