Emily Hayward waited until the very end of the Bayleys Real Estate Young Rider of the Year class to make her point.
Ahead of her 28 combinations had taken rail on rail, but the Te Awamutu teen was the queen of cool aboard her Australian import Yandoo Lady Gold to ride the only clear of the first round.
She backed that up in the second with another clear to claim the historic Big Red Cup.
“She’s been so consistent all year,” said Hayward, who for the past three years has won the Aspiring Rider of the Year crown. “This was one of our goals for the season.”
In preparation for the two round competition, Hayward focussed on Yandoo Lady Gold’s fitness and it paid off for her in spades.
“It is very special to win,” she said. “This is my fifth season with her so we are really bonded.”
Notching clears in the second round were Kimberley Bird aboard Cera Cassina who claimed second, along with third-placed Nakeysha Lammers on her homebred Resolution and fifth-placed Steffi Whittaker on Ngahiwi Cruise, but all carried through their earlier faults.
Bayleys Real Estate Young Rider of the Year: Emily Hayward, Yandoo Lady Gold 1, Kimberley Bird, Cera Cassina 2, Nakeysha Lammers, Resolution 3, Nicola Hammond, Carol I 4, Steffi Whittaker, Ngahiwi Cruise 5, Blake Davis, Giggles 6