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  • Writer's pictureShow Circuit Magazine

Woodhill Delivers for WC Festival

Head to heads were the order of the day in the premier arena at the Continental Cars Audi World Cup Festival at Woodhill Sands. Gerrit Beker’s courses brought out the best in many a combination, with some exciting classes producing heart-stopping jump-offs.

It was the showdown of the appies in the MaxLife Batteries Country TV Pony Grand Prix today with childhood friends Ciel Butler and Parys Marshall battling it out for top honours.

Rails fell freely in the opening round of the class until Butler (Katikati) aboard Showtym Boss came out and notched a lovely clear, followed four combinations later by Marshall (Taranaki) aboard Spot You Later.

Butler was out first in the jump-off and while she dropped the first fence, rallied to come home with just the four on the board in 46.99 seconds.

The pressure was on Marshall – all she needed to do was leave everything up . . . but still keep the time in mind, just in case.

She needn’t have worried. Despite nudging the third to last fence, she and the feisty Spot You Later flew home in 43.24 seconds.

The 16-year-old has had the pony four years, and with another season still to go in ponies, she’s eyeing more success.

Fittingly, the first people to text the Marshalls were the Hutterds who owned the pony previously and had done such a “great job” with him.

“The plan was to go clear in the first round and worry about the jump-off later,” said Marshall, who is trained by Matthew Dickie and Jeff McVean.

However, she always likes to walk her courses alone – and today was no different. Spot You Later can be a little spooky but thankfully got all those ‘monsters’ out of his head before the big class today.

“He is 17 now so I try not to start him too much,” says Marshall, who ranked her win today their biggest yet – and, much to her delight, her first rug.

“I was surprised there were only two clears but the atmosphere here is so different to what we have everywhere else,” she said.

Lucky for her, that suits Spot You Later who shines on a busy course.

“My heart did skip a beat when I rubbed that third to last rail but I knew I was up on time.”

It was all a bit of a reunion in the main arena for the prize giving of the Thoroughbred Floats 1.4m Classic.

Leading the way was Lisa Cubitt (Cambridge) who won the class aboard former eventer Cobra de Capello after an exciting jump-off with long time mate Tess Clark (Gisborne) on Sinatra II, with the ‘third musketeer’ Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) and Cera Caruso rounding out the top three.

Twenty-two started the class but just Cubitt and Clark mastered the Gerrit Beker-designed course. Eight bagged four faults, with times deciding the minor placings.

Clark was first out in the jump-off and set the pace at 41.9 seconds. Cubitt threw everything at it and despite giving the final fence a good whack, came home clear in 37.49 seconds.

These two have ridden against each other “forever”, but it has been a few years since they and Laurie have been in a line-up together.

Cobra de Capello (owned by Rolf Masfen) came from England to Australia as an eventer, and did a few 2* events with Olympian Stuart Tinney. Then he came to New Zealand to start his Kiwi eventing career but in late November joined Team Cubitt Sporthorses.

This was Cubitt’s third show with the horse.

“He is lovely,” said the 32-year-old. “I don’t know him very well but I do know he is careful and scopey. Tess was very quick out there – I am surprised I caught her.”

Brayden Aarts knows every day can be a good day for Binverter . . . or not.

But he was well on form yesterday, taking out the Fiber Fresh FMG Young Rider class with a super speedy clear round in the very hotly-contested jump-off.

“It depends on the day with him,” said 15-year-old Aarts. “He dumped me at the second fence yesterday!”

Twenty-one started the class and very quickly it was evident there was talent to burn in the field. Thirteen came back for the jump-off where Aarts had George Jetson as the first to go, and Binverter as the last.

George Jetson came home clear in 43.2 seconds. Nakeysha Lammers (Hikurangi) and her home-bred horse Resolution notched the next clear, in 44.24. Alyvia James (Cambridge) and SK Halo were also all clear, coming home in 45.71 seconds. Then came the very well-performed Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) and Yandoo Lady Gold who set the benchmark, going clear in 41.2 seconds. Clears followed from current Young Rider of the Year Drew Carson (Putaruru) aboard Winston V Driene and Olympic Cup winner Lily Tootill (Karaka), who was back at her first show in a couple of months after breaking her ankle, aboard Ulysses NZPH, along with Todd Magner (Hokitika) on Awatuna Jonesy.

It was all down to Aarts and Binverter who completely delivered, flying around the course in 40.94 seconds. The plan was always to try to win on nine-year-old Binverter.

“Since I am not chasing (series) points, I just wanted to win on Binverter,” said Aarts.

Having a run through both the first round and jump-off on George Jetson paid dividends.

“Thankfully I got him into the jump-off too. I really didn’t think I could better my time but we did.”

In the Purepine Shavings Seven-Year-Old Helen McNaught (Taupo) and La Riviere (owned by New Zealand Showjumpers) headed home 21 other combinations to take the honours.

Just three went through to the jump-off where McNaught set the stage with a slick clear round in 37.02 seconds.

Next out was Jasmin Sketchley (Whangarei) and Patricio Ego Z who took an unfortunate late rail to come home with four faults in 47.28 seconds. Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Dolly Blue were also clear and despite a tight turn into the wall, weren’t quite fast enough with their 39.25 second clear.

McNaught has only been riding La Riviere a couple of months. Owner Jill Morrison bought her “hot ginger”, bred by Scott and Deb Massey, at the 2017 Horse of the Year Show. Her daughter Samantha did much of the preparation riding for the Continental Cars Audi World Cup Festival.

McNaught was rapt with the horse.

“She is brave as a lion and careful as a cat, and all I have to do is get her between the standards,” she said. “She gives so much every time.”

Results –

MaxLife Batteries Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Parys Marshall (Taranaki) Spot You Later 1, Ciel Butler (Katikati) Showtym Boss 2, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 3, Sarah West (Matamata) Miss Mae West 4, Jessica Swailes (Pukekohe) Homeland Hero 5, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Fun House 6.

Fiber Fresh FMG Young Rider: Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) Binverter 1, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 2, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Ulysses NZPH 3, Todd Magner (Hokitika) Awatuna Jonesy 4, Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) George Jetson 5, Drew Carson (Putaruru) Winston V Driene 6.

Thoroughbred Floats 1.4m Classic: Lisa Cubitt (Cambridge) Cobra de Capello 1, Tess Clark (Gisborne) Sinatra II 2, Katie Laurie (Australia) Cera Caruso 3, Tom Tarver-Priebe (Hawera) Popeye 4, Samantha Morrison (Tauranga) Frangipanne de Toxandria 5, Danielle Maurer (Kaukapakapa) Dicavalli Don Quattro 6.

Purepine Shavings Seven-Year-Old: Helen McNaught (Taupo) La Riviere 1, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Dolly Blue 2, Jasmine Sketchley (Whangarei) Patricio Ego Z 3, Sarah Worker (Auckland) Remarkable 4, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Twerk 5, Danielle Maurer (Kaukapakapa) Le Bam 6.

Magnum Industries Mitavite Six-Year-Old: Michelle Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Numero Uno, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Cadenza NZPH, Annabel Francis (Darfield) Catapult Xtreme, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Lamondo GNZ, Rosie Commons (Auckland) Lotte and Rachel Malcolm (Cambridge) Monte Carlo MVNZ =1.

Aniwell East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old: Amanda Wilson (Hikurangi) Daminos TW 13 and Vicki Prendergast (Matamata) =1.

Saddlery Warehouse Caldeonian Holdings Amateur Rider: Chloe Van Den Boorn (Auckland) Mirrabella Piper 1, Melanie Dudding (Tuakau) Country Zena 2, Tessa Ranger (Putaruru) La Paz 3, Laura Pratt (Hamilton) Just Jess 4, Sandra Stanford-Soons (Silverdale) El Vira 5, Tom Lane (Auckland) Stationmaster 6.

Torque Digital Dunstan Horse Feeds & EquiFibre Pro Amateur Rider: Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) Aldivo 2 1, Emma Gaze (Cambridge) Woodland Bug 2, Karen Riddle (Rotorua) LC Talent 3, Natasha Imeson (Hikurangi) Absolute NZPH 4, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) Westminster Rock 5, Emma Gaze (Cambridge) Kowhai Bug 6.

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