Shane Rose and Shanghai Joe prevailed in a nail-biting conclusion to the CCI3* at the Melbourne International Horse Trials at Werribee Park today.
Rose jumped a faultless showjumping round under time to clinch the title from West Australian Sonja Johnson, who was second aboard Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison and third on Belfast Mojito.
Rose was full of praise for the home-bred Shanghai Joe, an eight-year-old former racehorse by Another Warrior who also won Racing Victoria’s Off the Track Best Performed Thoroughbred award. He said Shanghai Joe felt great after three days of competition.
“He’s quite a careful horse and he felt really strong after yesterday (cross-country). He showed his racing speed and come in under time,” Rose said.
“Shanghai Joe has got three great phases, a great attitude and seems to be really sound. Hopefully if I can keep him together and if he keeps improving he can hopefully go as far as I want him to go. I am certainly looking to have him ready for Rio.”
It was the first CCI*** for the eight-year-old Shanghai Joe, who has been placed in the top five of the past five CIC events he has competed in.
While Rose is looking ahead to the Rio Olympics in 2016 with Shanghai Joe, he is eyeing the upcoming World Equestrian Games with CP Qualified, on whom he won the Sydney CCI. He is planning to prepare for the event in Australia.
“This is for many reasons, including not enough time to acclimatise, and financial reasons. I can also get the preparation exactly as I want it. It will be a hilly track in France and I can do all that preparation work here. If I was selected, we would head to England early August.”
Rose and Shanghai Joe were sixth after Saturday’s dressage phase and moved into third after a faultless cross-country round. The withdrawal of Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio (leaders after cross-country) ahead of the showjumping phase saw the combination move into second behind Johnson and Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison.
This is the second time that Rose has won the title at MIHT, having previously taken home the honours in 1998 with It’s A Knockout. Under the new look MIHT, which was this year conducted solely outdoors on a European style arena, Rose was awarded a record $10,000 as part of a prizepool of more than $30,000 for the CCI3* class.
• Wilhelm Enzinger, who was second in the CCI2*, also won the CCI1* class, finishing on his dressage score (38.54) aboard Paihia Wilhelm to take the prize. Olympic silver medallist Megan Jones was second on Jayay Dom Perignon and Enzinger was third with Bellhaven Sanskrit.
The CCIJ1* was taken out by 16 year-old Thai rider Naphatra Lerdsipjaroen aboard Tainui Lad. Lerdsipjaroen has been based in Australia since early this year aiming to qualify for the Thai National team and ride at the 2014 Asian Games taking place in September.
Shenae Lowings (Western Australia) and Venture Sky High finished second following four showjumping penalties and Sarah May and Revelin were third, rising from 15th place in dressage.
MIHT Event Director Michael Hands congratulated the winners and placegetters of all classes as well as all riders and support teams for conditioning their horses in preparation for what was a true showcase of Australian equestrian talent.
“To have the top three places filled by two members of the silver medal winning Beijing Olympic Team (2008) shows the quality of competition our spectators enjoyed throughout the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
“The new-look event welcomed record crowds across the four day event and saw the beauty and athleticism of great horsemanship and sporting excellence played out in front of thousands,” Hands said.
The 2014 MIHT was the final Australian based qualifying opportunity for this year’s World Equestrian Games, in Normandy, France, in August.