Showjumper Katie McVean took the quinella in the $50,000 McMillans Equine Feeds Super Grand Prix at Ride the Rhythm in the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
She notched the only two double clear rounds over the tough but fair Gerrit Beker course. McVean won aboard Dunstan Kiwi Iron, coming home in 53.15, and was second on Dunstan Springfield in 55.37.
With faults carrying through from the first round, Maurice Beatson and My Gollywog added nothing further to their score, to finish on four faults in 50.21, while Claudia Hay and Eurosport Centavos, who went clear in the first, added four faults in 51.67. Beatson was fifth aboard Conyers on eight faults in 53.89.
Of the 11 starters, just McVean on her two nine-year-old horses and Hay had gone clear in the first round.
McVean was rapt – especially as it was Iron Mark’s first big grand prix victory of the season.
“He’s been a bit unlucky this season, but I knew that would change,” said the 27-year-old rider, who had high praise for the course.
“It was a great course, but Gerrit’s courses are always very nice to ride. Both my horses jumped good rounds – Mark was a little strong in the first, but good in the second.”
McVean said it would be awesome to have more horse shows at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, which had beautiful footing for the horses.
McVean will now continue on to the New Zealand National Championships, before heading to Hawke’s Bay in March for the NRM Horse of the Year Show.
Between the two rounds this evening, former top showjumper, Otago rugby rep and Sydney Opera House singer Jud Arthur sang opera on horseback while current national dressage champion Lynley Stockdale and Komplete Kaos did a dressage display.
Earlier, Nicole White and Cricklewood Ace headed home 24 other combinations to take out the Southern Wide 1.3m class. Five went through to the jump-off, but only White could leave everything in place, giving her the win.
Jaimee Bird and Showtym Image were the victors in the Pony Grand Prix. Of the 17 starters, six went through to the jump-off. Briar Burnett-Grant showed her usual form in flying around the jump-off aboard Mighty Maximus and while they recorded the fastest time, a rail cost them dearly and saw them finish fifth.
Four went double clear, with Bird stopping the clock at 33.31 seconds, comfortably ahead of second-placed Grace Manera on Tallyho Neptune.
The bravery award for the night has to go to Molly Buist-Brown who was one of three combinations to clear 1.7m and jointly win the GJ Gardner High Jump.
What was unusual about Buist-Brown was that she was aboard her plucky little pony Miss Mae West – one of two ponies she rode in the class.
Six started the class, which was stopped after five rounds, as per the rules, which are in place to keep the horses safe. Combinations didn’t look like getting anywhere close to the 2.13m New Zealand record, which was set in the early 1980s by Alan Goodall.
With the equestrian events finished, the thousands at the Forsyth Barr Stadium enjoyed a concert by world number one ABBA show Bjorn Again.
McMillans Equine Feeds $50,000 Super Grand Prix: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark (owned by June Berrington) 1, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Springfield (owned by McVean, Sarah Milne and Chele Clarkin) 2, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) My Gollywog 3, Claudia Hay (Mosgiel) Eurosport Centavos 4, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Conyers 5, Susie Haywood (Ashburton) Andretti 6.
Southern Wide 1.3m: Nicole White (Invercargill) Cricklewood Ace 1, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Double J Cloud Nine 2, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Lucca 3, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Ngahiwi Cruise 4, Kate Taylor (Otago) Next 5.
Pony Grand Prix: Jaimee Bird (Ashburton) Showtym Image 1, Grace Manera (Christchurch) Tallyho Neptune 2, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) Totem 3, Molly Buist-Brown (Christchurch) Miss Mae West 4, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Mighty Maximus 5, Grace O’Sullivan (Rangiora) Tui Gold 6.
GJ Gardner High Jump: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Larinium LS, Rick Van Miltonburg (Invercargill) Truly Unique and Molly Buist-Brown (Christchurch) Miss Mae West =1.