Winner Melody Matheson understandably had plenty of love for the ESNZ Horse Grand Prix course which saw nearly half the field retire or eliminated at the Northern Hawke’s Bay Jumping Show this afternoon.
She and her World Cup mare Cortaflex Graffiti MH were the only combination to come home clear and inside time of the 23 starters with Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and LT Holst Andrea finishing second with a single time fault.
“The course did take a lot of riding, it was just jump after jump and you couldn’t relax but I quite enjoyed it,” said the fulltime Havelock North-based rider. “Graffiti was great – she was switched on and ready for the next fence and was definitely ready to do a jump-off. It was lucky for me to be after Brooke because I got to watch her go.”
The course was designed by double silver Olympic medallist Greg Best under the watchful eye of Heather McDonald. “All weekend Greg’s courses were encouraging us to ride better as an intro to day – I think we need more of that.”
Melody said her mare had been “going great” all season. “It proves we are quite a good solid combo – we know each other very well and when the course is technical we can make it happen,” she says. “It all has to come together on the flat before the jumping and we have it down pat now.”
Emma Gillies (Oamaru) dominated proceedings in the nine-strong Country TV Pony Grand Prix, taking the quinella with Benrose Playtime and Benrose Eclipse. As the only rider to go clear in the opener, she opted not to jump off, giving the win to Benrose Playtime. The minor placings were filled with four faulters and decided on time.
The show was a late addition to the calendar after the cancellation of the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show and was initiated by the Northern Hawke’s Bay Jumping Group to give combinations competitive outings before the Glistening Waters and ESNZ Series Finals Show early next month. It attracted 200 horses and was held at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds.
ESNZ Horse Grand Prix: Melody Matheson (Havelock North) Cortaflex Graffiti MH 1, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) LT Holst Andrea 2, Alex Loiselle (Ocean Beach) Haupouri Da Vinci NZPH 3, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Henton Faberge 4, Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) Idol D 5, Annabel Francis (Taupo) La Quinara 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Benrose Playtime 1, Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Benrose Eclipse 2, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 3, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxden’s Merlot 4, Annie Moffett (Napier) Piripi 5, Tessa Mason (Napier) Mr Acho 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 1, Sarah West (Te Aroha) Oaks Centurian 2, Samantha Carrington (Takapau) Double J Breeze On 3, Annabel Francis (Taupo) LT Holst Elizabeth 4, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Chic Xtreme 5, Ike Baker (Hawke’s Bay) Hawkesdale Mahe 6.
Harrison Lane Pro-Amateur Rider Series: Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Kiwi Lansing 1, Lucy Fell (Palmerston North) Faratona STS 2, Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) Good Timing 3, Sam Whale (Cambridge) Fleur De Lacour 4, Tanya Hansen (Taranaki) Euro Champagne 5, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Footloose NZPH 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) Miss Vee NZPH 1, Kaleigh Kent (Otane) Double J Sponge Bob Square Pants 2, Brent Anderson (Taranaki) Detailed MSH 3, Shannon James (Hastings) Kiwi Redwood 4, Rachel Nelson (Waimarama) Ocean Lady 5, Amelia Clark (Karaka) Master of Hossack 6.
Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Kimberley Carrington (Takapau) Double J Barmaid 1, Samantha Gillies (Oamaru) Socrates de la ve Z 2, Francesca Corich (Paraparaumu) LDS Lavanda 3, Annie Moffett (Napier) Samantha the Dachshund 4, Lilly Sherriff (Marton) Abenaki Chief 5, Anneke van Rooyen (Taumarunui) My Sassy Cat 6.
Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series: Annabel Francis (Taupo) Chic Xtreme 1, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Eye Catcher NZPH 2, Sam Whale (Cambridge) Fleur De Lacour 3, Ally Carson (Putaruru) Eye Candy 4, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Beau Balou 5, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Chesall 6.
UltraMox Six-Year-Old Series: Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) LT Holst Zalato Blue, Mark Brooks (Cambridge) First Class NZPH, Kathryn Alabaster (Ocean Beach) Haupouri Ferrari NZPH, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Footloose NZPH and Samantha Carrington (Takapau) Double J Hurricane =1.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) LT Holst Harley and Ashley Hart (Hastings) Kiwi Royal =1.
For full results, head to www.main-events.com
By Diana Dobson
22 March 2021