Donna Smith jumps into NZ eventing’s Super League lead

Donna Smith and Just Chocolate.
Donna Smith and Just Chocolate.

There is a new Bell Tea Super League leader following the Fiber Fresh CIC3* at Woodhill Sands over the weekend. Former international Donna Smith won the class on Tim and Sarah Varley’s Just Chocolate, to leap onto the board in top spot.

None of the top six in the Super League were competing at Woodhill Sands, the third leg in the series, the first two legs having been at Taupo and Takapau.

The first South Island leg of the series was at McLeans Island this weekend, and resulted in a win for Amberley’s Annabel Wigley on NRM Enzo. The only other starter there was Young Rider Katie Rankin on Time To Tango Too, Wigley’s second mount, NRM Frog Rock, being withdrawn.

Smith held the overnight lead at Woodhill Sands on Balmoral Sensation, despite a showjumping rail down, and was second with Just Chocolate on their dressage score of 54.9 penalties after a clean showjumping round. However the less experienced Sensation incurred 18.4 cross-country time penalties to finish third overall, with Chocolate incurring 12.4 penalties across country for a final score of 67.3.

Shelley Ross and Alberta Tomba filled second place in the field of eight starters after adding 14 cross-country time penalties to their fourth placed dressage score of 55.2 to finish on 69.2. The two top placings earned points in the Bell Tea Super League, with a bonus of 50% higher points as it was run under FEI (international) rules.

The next event in the series is the National One-day Event at Taupo on November 24-25, where the cream of the country’s elite competitors will meet for the first time this season in a showdown that will shape the series leading to the halfway mark, the Puhinui Three-day Event at Auckland on December 7 to 9.


BELL TEA SUPER LEAGUE – Standings after 4 events:
Donna Smith (Te Kauwhata), Just Chocolate, 54 pts, 1; Ashleigh McKinstry (Owhango), Pioneer Makokomiko, 48 pts, 2; Shelley Ross (Helensville), Alberta Tomba, 46.5 pts, 3;  Annabel Wigley (Amberley), NRM Enzo, 36 pts, 4=, Charlotte Grayling (New Plymouth), NRM Ru Star, 36 pts, 4=; Bryce Newman (Bulls), Bates Trademark, 31 pts, 6=; Chloe Davidson (Papakura), 31 pts, 6=.


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