• Tight tussle in Oceania clash at HOY

Tight tussle in Oceania clash at HOY

Australia and New Zealand are neck and neck in the Oceania Eventing Challenge after another action-packed day at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.

Australia are just in front in the CCI4*-S, with a score of 89.4 penalty points from their best three combinations, with the Kiwis sitting on 90.6, while the roles are reversed in the CCI3*-S with the New Zealanders on 101.2 and the visitors on 104.7.

Andrew Barnett (AUS) and Go Tosca lead the 4* field on 27.6, followed by team mate Oliver Barrett aboard Sandhills Special on 28, and New Zealand Paris hopeful Madison Seivwright aboard Waitangi Pinterest in third on 28.7.

In the 3*, Australian team member Olivia Shore leads on Dreamcatcher with a score of 28.1 penalty points, followed by individuals Alena Dorotich aboard Cassiana Xtreme on 31.4 and Donna Edwards-Smith with DSE Tommy Thomson in third on 31.8. The best of the Kiwi team is Bridie Quigley aboard Oranoa Greyson on 33.4.

The competition continues tomorrow with the much anticipated Chris Ross-designed cross country that will bring the rest of the show to a halt and attract thousands to the Tōmoana Showgrounds to line the laneways.

In the showjumping arena, Sophie Scott just popped herself up into prime position for the biggest class of the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show after taking the quinella in the Cavallino Silver Fern Stakes.

Roger Laplanche certainly challenged the nine combinations who lined up for the class, which is considered a bit of a gauge of what to expect for Sunday’s big one, the Olympic Cup.

But today, it was all Sophie’s way. She and Benrose Stellar were the first out in the opening round and were very unlucky to take the last fence for a total of four faults. The last fence – fittingly number 13 – proved to be the absolutely bogey of the track, falling nine times over the two rounds. Sophie (Palmerston North) and her second mount Waitangi Skynet were the only combination to clear the last in the opening round but had two rails for a total of eight. Logan Massie (Dannevirke) and Florence also had eight faults in the opener, with Jake Lambert (Cambridge) and the rather exuberant Takapoto Alaid De Chez Nous on 12 faults and, much to the delight of the crowd, were the only ones to clear that pesky fence 13.

All nine combinations came back for the second round with Sophie clear on both her mounts on four and eight faults, for first and second, and Jake clear but with a single time fault for a total if 13. Norwood Gold Cup winner Kathryn Loiselle (Norsewood) steered Haupouri Drama NZPH to fourth, Logan Massie and his homebred Florence were fifth and Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and Takapoto Tinka were sixth.

It was a very emotional Sophie who received the Ian Nimon Memorial Cup from Ian’s son Bruce Nimon.

“It is just an unreal feeling,” said the 22-year-old. “I am so happy with my horses and just stoked to win! It was a tricky track that was technical and big, but I loved it for my team.”

The course had suited the Stellar perfectly. “She jumped so well . . . actually better than I thought. We were just unlucky to have that last fence in the first found.”

Coach Jeff McVean had simple instructions for her in the second round – just go clear.

“I was so relieved to win,” she said.

It’s the first time she has taken a quinella in a big class and she’s hoping it is the start of something quite special.

“I am so looking forward to the Olympic Cup on Sunday.”

It will be her first ever start in the Showjumper of the Year class. “I would so love to get that trophy in my cupboard!”

Wendi Williamson and Don Vito MH were comfortable winners of the FEI CDI3* Grand Prix title class with a score of 71.413 percent, with Vanessa Way (Taranaki) and NSC Furst Rock DW taking out the FEI Small Tour FEI Intermediate I title class on 72.677 percent.

The Pony of the Year medium level title was won by Piper Crake (Helensville) aboard Rheinhart’s Steel on 68.895 percent while Amy Sage (Cambridge) on HPH Furst Welcome took out Advanced Musical Freestyle title on 72.375 percent.

All the show hunter titles were decided today, with Sarah Jocelyn (Wairarapa) and Curioso winning the Horse Show Hunter of the Year crown, Lena Hayes (Raglan) and Redcliffs Pinot taking the Junior Show Hunter of the Year award, and Jacqui Symes (Waipukurau) and Takapoto Sienna won the Amateur Show Hunter of the Year.

The Cat A Pony Show Hunter of the Year title went to Ellie McDonald (Auckland) and Wai Ora Addiction, with the Cat B crown going to Charli Sabine (Pukekohe) on Hesasuperstar, and the Cat C title to Emily McMaster (Greytown) on Onetai Cover Girl.

Caption: Sophie Scott rides Benrose Stellar to victory in the Cavallino Silver Fern Stakes. Photo: Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC