Daniel Blundell’s victory in this evening’s Premier Stakes was doubly special for the Auckland rider.
The winner of the 1.45m class wins bragging rights, but more importantly, hoists the Tom Gadsby Memorial Trophy – a special silver cup donated by the Gadsby family in memory of Tom, an eventer and showjumper who died while eventing in the United Kingdom in 2013.
Blundell was very proud of his eight-year-old mare Athena NZPH.
“She was amazing,” he said of the career-best win.
Blundell almost didn’t come to HOY this year – Athena NZPH has been out for half the season after getting an abscess but a good outing at the recent Takapoto Estate Show changed his mind.
“I am so pleased I did!”
Twenty-four combinations started the two-round class with clears coming from teen Annabel Francis aboard La Quinara, Drew Carson on Winston V Driene and Blundell. Nakeysha Lammers and her homebred Resolution were clear but picked up a single time fault.
Seven combinations came back for the second round where Lammers put the pressure on the rest of the field with a lovely steady clear. Blundell rose to the occasion and came home all clear to take the win.
Premier Stakes: Daniel Blundell (Auckland) Athena NZPH 1, Nakeysha Lammers (New Plymouth) Resolution 2, Annabel Francis (Canterbury) La Quinara 3, Nick Brooks (Cambridge) Versace C 4, Drew Carson (Putaruru) Winston V Driene 5, Nicola Hammond (Cambridge) Carlo I 6.