Katie McVean and Dunstan Daffodil won the Olympic Cup at the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show in Hastings today, giving the rider her fourth win in the class and her third consecutive showjumper of the year title.
The feat topped off a superb show for the 25-year-old from Mystery Creek, which also saw her win the Lady Rider of the Year, the Silver Fern Stakes and the five and seven-year-old titles.
But she was quick to credit Daffodil with today’s heart-stopping victory which saw her sweep aside 24 other top combinations from both sides of the Tasman.
McVean was the only one to go clear in the first round over the challenging Leopoldo Palacios course.
Twelve came back for round two, with all but McVean carrying faults. It wasn’t until the final two that there came another clear round –this time from Australian Brook Dobbin aboard the big grey Advisor.
It was down to McVean – if she dropped a rail, she’d force a jump-off.
The thousands in the stand rode every jump with them, gasping as Daffodil rattled the odd jump and barely able to contain themselves as they headed to the final jump.
“She just tried her little heart out,” McVean said of 11-year-old Daffodil, who is a half-sister to superstar Delphi, on whom she won the Olympic Cup in 2010.
The Aussie visitors took more than their fair share of the top prize money, with Dobbin second, Evie Buller on Yalambi’s Landor third and Paula Hamood and Nero GHP fifth equal with Daniel Meech and Carlotta. Maurice Beatson and the perennial My Gollywog were fourth.
McVean and Daffodil, along with Dunstan Zimoreana G, will head to Australia in just over a week to compete at the Sydney Royal and a couple of World Cup shows.
There was barely a dry eye in the house when McVean steered June Berrington’s Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark to victory in the Seven Year Old of the Year class. Iron Mark was owned by June’s daughter, the late Melanie Purcell, who died of cancer at the age of 24.
• And it’s official – Louisa Hill is the best dressage rider in New Zealand.
Her triple win at the show cements her place as New Zealand’s best Olympic hopeful.
Hill and her super-talented Bates Antonello are the sole New Zealand dressage combination to have qualified for a spot at the London Olympic Games. Vanessa Way and Jody Hartstone are currently based in Europe attempting to meet the New Zealand qualifying criteria.
Hot on the heels of Hill’s win at the recent New Zealand Dressage Championships expectations were high – and she delivered. Few Kiwi dressage riders break the elusive 66% barrier, but Hill racked up scores of 68.68%, 68.62% and a massive 71.05% in today’s musical freestyle test.
Best of all is the news that there’s plenty more to come.
“AJ was definitely a bit tired today which is quite unlike him, but he had a sleepless night with kids running around letting ponies out which freaked him out. He ended up with a swollen eye and bashed shoulder which wasn’t ideal,” Hill said.
She heads to Europe next month in the next step of her Olympic campaign.
Showjumping, Olympic Cup: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Daffodil 1, Brook Dobbin (Australia) Advisor 2, Evie Buller (Australia) Yalambi’s Landor 3, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) My Gollywog 4, Daniel Meech (Taupo) Carlotta (owned by the Burnett-Grant family) and Paula Hamood (Australia) Nero GHP =5.
NZ Speed Horse of the Year: Megan Stacey (Te Puke) Shimmer Man 1, Megan Webb (Hunterville) Abernaki Chief 2, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Zasjany D 3, Anna Stephen (Martinborough) Constantine 4, Vicki Wilson (Kerikeri) Showtym Girl 5, Amanda Wilson (Whangarei) Showtym Viking 6.
Seven Year Old of the Year: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark (owned by June Berrington 1, Kim Best (Otane) Giggles 2, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Springfield 3, Daniel Meech (Taupo) Branson MVNZ (owned by Garry Hogg) 4, Phillip Steiner (Tauranga) Annandale Renaissance NZPH 5, Oliver Edgecombe (Waipukurau) Cortaflex Burttorio 6..
Dressage, Horse of the Year: Louisa Hill (Clevedon), Bates Antonello 1, Nicky Pope (Whitford), Fabarchie 2, Hannah Appleton (Nelson) Fiber Fresh Zactac Graceful 3, Bill Noble (Hamilton), Airthrey Highlander 4, Kieryn Walton (Taumaranui) Saraceni 5, Christine Weal (Te Awamutu), Spielzeit 6.