It is not a surprise to see Hawkes Bay’s Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding heading the score sheet in the Land Rover CCI4*-S in Hastings following the dressage on Thursday, but it is surprising to see her lead by the slimmest margin of 0.1 of a penalty point.
Amanda and “Ferg” scored 28 penalties for a test that was “the best he has done in an atmosphere” according to Amanda, but they are shadowed by Madison Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest who produced some sensational movement to score 28.1 penalties.
A member of the Eventing Talent Development Squad, 25 year old Maddie, as she is known, has retired from working as an accountant in Hamilton and now rides full time, working for her mentor, Olympian Clarke Johnstone at Matangi.
Tim Price lies third on Ricker Ridge Escada with 29.4 penalties, having produced a polished performance on Samantha Lissington’s horse despite only riding him for a couple of days prior to the competition.
Aleisha Collett and Mi Focus hold fourth position with 30.4 penalties, having delivered a focused test, and two combinations lie fifth equal with 33 penalties, Jackson Bovill on Visionnaire and Donna Edwards-Smith on DSE Tangolooma, who has since been withdrawn.
ESNZ Eventing Super League leaders Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Rui lie seventh with 33.3 penalties, and Donna holds the next two spots with DSE Cluny, who is second in the Super League, and DSE Mr Hokey Pokey on 34 and 34.2 penalties respectively.
Jonelle Price needed all her skills coping with feisty mares to complete the test on Ricker Ridge Divine Right, who was extremely tense, but last year’s runner-up, Nick Brooks on For Fame, is one of the three combinations behind her.
Blyth Tait fared better on Chloe Phillips-Harris’s Cor Jet to lie twelfth of the twenty-two starters on 36 penalties. Friday’s showjumping is sure to change the line up, with less than four penalties, the cost of a rail down, covering the first four, and two rails covering the top half of the field.
The leader of the CCI3*-S is no surprise either, Blyth leaving the arena with a big smile after Havanna, who arrived from England in time for a summer Christmas, looking like she is loving it here, scoring 26.9 penalties. She will not run at top level until she has acclimatised.
Samantha Lissington holds second spot on Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ with 27.2 penalties, ahead of Blyth’s former international horse Xanthus III, now in the hands of his former groom Fiona Fraser, with a score of 29.6, and Jock Paget fourth on Sam’s Ricker Ridge Riley with 30.2 penalties.
The riders have had little time to look at the Chris Ross’s cross-country course yet, but Jock said the fences he had seen were “right up to international standard, and beautifully presented.”
Burghley technical delegate Philip Surl (GBR) confirmed this, saying, “The course is of a standard you will see anywhere in the world, with very good fences in a spectacular setting.”
Full results on www.equestrianentries.co.nz