Katie McVean has won the JB Olympic Cup at New Zealand’s Horse of the Year Show for the fifth time, taking the title with Dunstan Springfield in Hastings this afternoon.
McVean notched the only double clear over the John Vallance designed course. It was her fifth win from five different horses and this time she also beat current world champion Philippe Le Jeune of Belgium, who was riding her other horse Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark.
It’s a big few months ahead for McVean – she gets married to Jackson Laurie on Saturday, and is expecting her first baby in July.
“It was unbelievable out there,” McVean said.
It was the same horse she won the New Zealand World Cup final on this season.
“Those were two tough rounds out there. It meant so much to me today because he tried so hard. He has only jumped three star level since January.”
Fifteen started the class – the first round of which was a qualifier for the 2014 World Championships for those who finished with eight faults or less.
Sadly, defending champ Maurice Beatson and his home-bred My Gollywog were eliminated in the first round after parting company at the 11th fence. The 19-year-old horse got to fence nine clear, but then had four in a row down.
Beatson also retired Conyers in the first round after a run of fences hit the ground.
McVean was the only clear in the first round, with Samantha McIntosh on Estina, Le Jeune on Andretti, and young guns Luke Dee on Ombudsman and Sarah Beale (Australia) on Alpha Centauri all on four faults.
Eleven came back with six going clear – McIntosh, Brooke Dobbin (Australia) on Silvo, Le Jeune, Sheridan Manuel (Australia) on Renmano, McVean, Dee and Le Jeune on Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark.
But the clean slate of McVean said it all – with double clears, she couldn’t be touched, with Le Jeune on Andretti, Dee and McIntosh all on four faults and sharing second place.
Sharing the stage with McVean at the final press conference for the show was 3* eventing winner Clarke Johnstone and Dressage Horse of the Year rider Bill Noble.
And show director Kevin Hansen is already talking about the 2015 event, inferring there will be a few changes to be made.
He was confident final gate tallies would exceed the 74,000 of last year, including more than 19,000 enjoying yesterday’s cross country.
Le Jeune was also impressed with the show, the JB Olympic Cup class and the horses he rode, saying he would love to return in 2015.
“I have had a great time here and met a lot of fantastic people, I would like to come back again.”
JB Olympic Cup: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Springfield (owned by Sarah Milne, Chele Clarkin and McVean) 1, Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) Estina (owned by Lakeridge Equestrian), Philippe Le Jeune (Belgium) Andretti (owned by Susie Hayward) Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) Ombudsman =2, Sheridan Manuel (Australia) Renmarno and Brooke Dobbin (Australia) Silvo =5.