Sally Clark may be an Olympic silver medallist but this season she’s nailed her first Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Pro-Am Rider Series.
The Dannevirke rider was rapt with the efforts of her black homebred mare Victoria’s Secret. “We’re usually placed but this is a first for Victoria,” she said. The combination has earlier won the Horse of the Year Pro-Am title. “This is a good height for both of us – it really suits her and I have decided I am comfortable at 1.3m too.”
Sally says she doesn’t go out to chase the series, but they do compete at a lot of shows and it has been a good season for them, however, Sally has been unknowingly carrying a fractured humerus after a fall in early January at her local show. She’ll be seeing a specialist shortly.
Victoria’s Secret is not a big horse, but what she lacks in size she makes up in heart. Her mother Dilly Dally, who is by Distelfink, showjumped to 1.3m and her sire is the thoroughbred Hey Baba Riba, who is by Sir Tristram.
“She’s 12 now and I couldn’t sell her but would love to breed from her. I think Euro Sport Centavous would be a lovely husband for her but not just yet! When you’ve been riding a horse for seven years you really develop a good partnership. She can be quite fiery but we have an understanding,” she said. “She’s very sharp and I have learnt to use that to my benefit.”
Sally now has her eye on competing in mini prix next season and would dearly love to win another HOY title. The win was Sally’s second showjumping series win but it has been a long time between drinks – her last was the five-year-old aboard Zibbibo in the mid-2000s.
Finishing second to Sally in the series, just two points back, was Lauren Buckley (Queenstown) and her bred to race Icey Storm. She and husband Chris made the long trek north for their debut competition on this side of the strait.
“I just wanted to finish well,” she said. “I am so happy to have had a great season with him and finishing second gives me something to work towards next year.”
In the grand final just six of the initial 14 starters came back for the jump-off. Double clears came from class winner Amanda Illston (Masterton) and Iguazu and Lucia Voss (Kawerau) on Ngahiwi Para.
The gutsy story of the day has to go to fourth place-getter Christine Cornege (Cambridge) who was warming up for the jump-off aboard her homebred Varekai SL when the two hit the ground. The horse broke his bridle, sprang to his feet, took off and jumped a full wire en route to the yards. Her friends rallied round and very quickly Christine – complete with some extra mud on her jacket and jodhpurs – came back into the ring to ride a brilliant round for just four faults.
By Diana Dobson
Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Pro-Am Rider Series:
1st Sally Clark (Dannevirke) 107 points
2nd Lauren Buckley (Queenstown) 105 points
3rd Christine Cornege (Cambridge) 95 points
4th Grace Percy (Masterton) 91 points
5th Emma Gaze (Ohaupo) 76 points
6th Sandra Stanford-Soons (Auckland) 58 points
Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Pro-Am Eider Grand Final:
1st Amanda Illston (Masterton) Iguazu
2nd Lucia Voss (Kawerau) Ngahiwi Para
3rd Sally Clark (Dannevirke) Victoria’s Secret
4th Christine Cornege (Cambridge) Varekai SL
5th Lauren Buckley (Queenstown) Icey Storm
6th Noni Morgan (Hastings) Starlight Discovery