Rose Alfeld was happy to tick the box of her big goal for the year with her “big softie” Eye Catcher NZPH, in winning the Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series.
The 17.2hh chestnut gelding, who is by Kannan and out of a Mr Blue mare, had much of last season off so Rose says she had no expectations at the beginning of the season. “He came back better than ever, so we pressed on and here we are,” said the 25-year-old from Leeston.
Masterton is a happy hunting ground for the South Islander who two years ago won the five-year-old series with Eye Catcher NZPH and has also previously won the seven-year-old series with Cadenza NZPH.
“The plan today was just to have fun. We had nothing to lose in the jump-off,” she said. “This horse is a big softie – he is like a lab! He is a very easy horse to have around but you need to wind him up to get the best out of him. He really loves his food.”
She bought him as a three-year-old and he was only 15.2hh and we weren’t even sure he would be either big enough or good enough. He has really blossomed.”
The combination travelled up to Masterton for their February show to prepare for the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show but headed home once that was cancelled. “When Hawke’s Bay put on their show we came back up and have been here for nearly a month. I love it here (at Masterton) – it is one of my favourites. It has a great hard-working committee and everyone is so accommodating.”
She is also a big fan of the age group series classes. “They are a good way to slowly produce horses up the heights. It’s important to remember that just because you aren’t on a top five-year-old, it doesn’t mean it won’t star as a seven-year-old. They all mature in their own time and not all the same.”
Nine started the grand final with four coming back for the jump-off over the Gerrit Beker-designed course. Jesse Linton (Hastings) and Beau Balou got the jump-off off to a cracking start going clear in 42.16 seconds, followed by Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) and Fiber Fresh Chesall who also left everything up but with a slightly slower time of 45.86 seconds. Then came young gun Annabel Francis (Taupo) aboard Chic Xtreme who has also been ridden by her older sister Charlotte this season. Annabel and Chic Xtreme took every corner, flying home all clear in 42.01 to take the class. Series winner Rose was all clear on Eye Catcher NZPH to take third in 43.01 with Jesse second and Briar fourth.
Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Series: Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Eye Catcher NZPH (by Kannan out of a Mr Blue mare) 125 points 1, Sam Whale (Cambridge) Fleur DeLacour (by Corofino II) 105 points 2, Annabel and Charlotte Francis (Taupo) Chic Xtreme (by Corofino II) 89 points 3, Oliver Croucher (Cambridge) Takapoto Casanova Xtreme (by Corofino II out of JK Looks Good) 79 points 4, Bailey Harvey (Taranaki) Haupouri Evandro NZPH (by Quool du Boig Margot by a Mr Blue mare) 47 points 5, Anna Parsons (Takapau) Snapchat Me (by Cassiano) 42 points 6.
Matthews Hanoverians Seven-Year-Old Grand Final Class: Annabel Francis (Taupo) Chic Xtreme (by Corofino II) 1, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Beau Balou (by Balou De Rouet) 2, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) Eye Catcher NZPH (by Kannan out of a Mr Blue mare) 3, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Chesall (by Colman) 4, Bailey Harvey (Taranaki) Haupouri Evandro NZPH (by Quool du Boig Margot by a Mr Blue mare) 5, Anna Parsons (Takapau) Snapchat Me (by Cassiano) 6.
For full series results, head to www.nzequestrian.org.nz
For full class results, head to www.main-events.com
By Diana Dobson
12 April 2021