Competition was as hot as the weather on the first day of the Bates National Championships in Christchurch today, with several classes offering warm-up options for the title classes on Sunday.
Acting as a non-counting test for the championship, today’s Challenge Finals bring the South Island Accumulator Series to a close.
The Superior Rubber Grand Prix Challenge was closely fought between experienced mainlanders Sally Field-Dodgson and Lynley Stockdale. The panel of five judges were divided in their opinion but in the end it was Field-Dodgson riding the grey Amberleigh Elite who came out on top, 1 percent clear of Stockdale and Komplete Kaos.
Even a course error couldn’t stop Marlborough’s Tracey Johnson and Apollo 4 from claiming the top spot in the Hobson Horsecoaches Advanced Challenge. “I really wanted him to stay relaxed and soft over his back which he did,” said Johnson about the sometimes tense Anamour gelding.
“It’s been a good start to the weekend”.
Wellington visitor Catherine Tobin was close behind in second place with Riverndell Romeo. “He is getting very consistent and I am very pleased,” said Tobin, who returned from training in Australia with her horse last winter.
Massey University student Nicola French was third with Don Freese at just her second competition at advanced level, while Jenny Scotter and Kinnordy Gallium was the best of the locals in fouth.
Dunedin rider Anya Durling continued her dominant form in the Hatton Horse Floats Level 5 Challenge. Riding Rosari Guest Star, Durling was 5 percent clear of nearest rival Anna Gale riding GB Donner Benelli. Gale is the busiest rider at the competition this weekend riding four horses over four different levels. Christchurch rider Thomas Oldridge and Teodoro were third.
The NRM Level 4 Challenge was won by another Dunedin rider, this time Gillian Edgar and Cordacious. This impressive combination has been consistent all season and they will be eyeing up championship honours in what will be their last major show of the season. North Canterbury rider Kirsty Schist rode the flamboyant Kinnordy Gambado into second while another local rider, Amelia French and Wolkenblaz, were third.
South Canterbury rider Megan Robinson and Genero were victors in the Denis Reichenbach Level 3 Challenge Final. This duo has been in such fine form all season that they were guaranteed the accumulator title before the competition started. They have started in six challenge tests for wins in South Canterbury, the South Island Championships as well as second placings in Ashburton, Canterbury and Otago. Upper Hutt visitors Jacqui Thompson and Georgio were rewarded for making the trip south by placing second. Marlborough young rider Sarah Wadworth was third.
Patrick Redwood impressed in his first test outside of Marlborough with a convincing win in the Matthews Hanoverians Level Two Challenge riding Kitset. Redwood, who has ridden for most of his life, describes himself as “pretty new at this stuff” (dressage) so was thrilled to finish the day on top of the class. Ashburton rider Sarah Waddell and River Rock were second three percent adrift of Redwood. North Canterbury’s Nicki Ford and Luna II were third.
Nelson’s Julie Fraser and Arnage Rhumba topped the massive field of 40 in the Vetpro Level One Challenge. Local rider Karolyn Norton was just .2 percent behind Fraser on Larapinta Primadonna while Janna Greene was third on Grandiosie. Both Norton and Greene will compete in the Elite Equine Young Dressage Horse 5 Year Old Qualifier on Saturday.
Sue Hobson’s Solo and Rebecca Rowlands’ Southwell Rendevouz qualified as the top two 4 year old finalists for the Elite Equine Young National Dressage Horse Championship final which is to be held on Sunday. Visiting Estonian rider Marlen Vassil will ride the finalists.
Vetpro Level One Challenge Final: Julie Fraser Arnage Rhumba 71.739% 1, Karolyn Norton Larapinta Primadonna 71.522% 2, Janna Greene Grandiosie 70.217% 3, Sue Hobson Solo 69.565% 4, Emma Rowe-Pledger Astraeus 68.261% 5, Holly Merritt Go Lightly 68.261% 6.
Matthews Hanoverians Level 2 Challenge Final: Patrick Redood Kitset 72.407% 1, Sarah Waddell River Rock 69.815% 2, Nicki Ford Luna II 69.630% 3, Anna Gale Jive Thyme 69.259% 4, Rosanne Rix Lindisfarne Laureate 68.519% 5, Jane Crichton Gianna MH 67.963% 6.
Denis Rechenbach Level 3 Challenge Final: Megan Robinson Genero 67.436% 1, Jacqui Thompson Georgio 66.154% 2, Sarah Wadworth Faemoss BW 66.026% 3, Sandy Houston SE Reprieve 65.128% 4, Sharon Inwood Akkron 64.744% 5, Janelle Sangster-Ward 62.692% 6.
NRM Level 4 Challenge Final: Gillian Edgar Cordacious 73.158% 1, Kirsty Schist Kinnordy Gambado 67.895% 2, Amelia French Wolkenblaz 65.526% 3, Jackie Thomas Te Peka Lisaelott 64.342% 4, Jacqui Winspear JW Darjeeling 64.342% 5, Seija Parkkali Eyredale Dulciana 64.211% 6.
Hatton Horse Floats Level 5 Challenge Final: Anya Durling Rosari Guest Star 70.317% 1, Anna Gale GB Donner Benelli 65.635% 2, Thomas Oldridge Teodoro 65.159% 3, Hielke de Graaf All-white 64.520% 4, Larissa Srhoy Starburst 63.175% 5, Jody Hartstone Ali Baba 62.698% 6.
Hobson Horsecoaches Level 6 Challenge Final: Tracey Johnson Apollo 4 65.474% 1, Catherine Tobin Riverndell Romeo 64.368% 2, Nicola French Don Freese 64.316% 3, Jenny Scotter Kinnordy Gallium 62.868% 4, Wendy Butler Millstream Magic 61.895% 5, Diane Wallace Caithness Masquerade 61.789% 6.
Superior Rubber Surfaces Grand Prix Challenge Final: Sally Field-Dodgson Amberleigh Elite 63.816% 1, Lynley Stockdale Komplete Kaos 62.842% 2, Wendy Hamerton Pot of Gold 57.789% 3.