Over a course of fences set at a maximum of 1.35 this two round challenge saw 24 starters in the first round, the top ten being called back for the second jump off round.
Early to go in the draw was Amanda Wilson aboard last night’s Grand Prix winner, Showtym Cassanova. Riding confidently, the pair took two rails for a total of eight faults. As the class progressed, it became clear that eight faults might not be so bad, with the riders following knocking down many rails over the challenging course.
The first clear came for Lucy Olhert and her upstanding partner, Eve Saint Laurent. Together the pair were bold and careful to guarantee themselves through to round two of the competition. No one could match the clear with the closest being Vicki Wilson and Ngahiwi Showtym Premier and Holly Morrell aboard Pampero who came home with just four faults each. In the end, those with twelve-faults and less ended up coming back for what was sure to be an exciting round two.
First back in for round two was international eventer Donna Smith riding the 3* eventer, DSE Mr Hokey Pokey. The pair added another eight faults to their twelve from the first round to finish on 20 in a time of 63.32 seconds, landing them 8th place. Jaime Campbell, riding the impressive Socrates De La Vie Z were another combination to finish on 20 faults, but with a faster time of 62.75 they edged ahead of Donna for 7th place. Elle Phillips had the fastest time of round two finishing in 62.59 seconds on Raibeart Bruis and a total of 16 faults to claim 6th place.
Down in the business end of the class, Emily Fraser and Kiwi Sunray added just four faults to their first round total of eight to finish on 12 faults in a time of 66.74. Crowd favourite, Amanda Wilson riding the coloured horse, Showtym Cassanova, came out looking determined, obiously wanting to put pressure on the riders after her. That she did, posting a clear round, leaving them on eight faults with a time 63.45. Taupo eventer Holly Morrell added just four more faults to the four from their first round, seeing them too finishing on eight, but with a slightly quicker time of 62.79 they knocked Amanda out of the top spot. Holly commented after her round, “That triple bar was huge, I don’t know how these show jumpers do it every weekend!”
With many fans in the crowd, Vicki Wilson entered the arena and rode a classy round, leaving up the plank on the downward side of the bank that caused so much grief in both rounds. They finished clear in a time of 63.34 on their first round total of four faults and adding immense pressure to Lucy Olphert.
Showing her experience keeping a cool and calm head, Lucy made child’s play out of the first part of the course and looked sure to secure the win. However, at the second-to-last fence Eve Saint Laurent put in a massive effort over the big oxer making sure or clearing it, but almost catapulting Lucy off the front. Regaining her seat and sitting up Lucy managed to find her balance and make it over the final fence and claim victory with the only double clear of the competition.
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