New Zealand’s top riders will be hoping for a few early wishes from Santa in the final round for 2013 in the Bayer World Cup New Zealand League at the Taupo Christmas Classic.
Maurice Beatson has won all three rounds so far, but will not be starting his top horse My Gollywog this weekend, opting instead to save the 18-year-old for the first show of the New Year at his home track.
Beatson has his home-bred youngster Schimmel Warrior entered for the Saturday event.
“He’s jumped some good rounds but this is his first season at world cup level,” says the Olympian and former World Cup finalist. “He has the ability to win, but consistency is the key with him and he’s still learning the trade.”
The nine-year-old has been placed in one of his three starts.
“I’m hoping for a few points on the board, but the experience for him is important.”
Three time series winner Kate McVean is also without her top horse for the class. Dunstan Daffodil will be at the show – her first in months – but will be easing back into things in the 1.2m – 1.3m classes.
McVean has two entered in the world cup – eight-year-olds Dunstan Delilah and Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark.
Iron Mark has done only one world cup but finished third after unluckily taking the last fence in the second round, while Delilah has had two and also placed.
“The world cup series is an important one, but this year all my horses are so young, I’m not pushing them,” said McVean.
Bernard Denton and Horsesports Suzuki, who are sitting in second spot on the leaderboard, will be keen to continue their steady form of late.
There are a string of imported horses that look to be starting to find form. Included in that line-up is Matthew Gilmour and Belize Di Cantero and Olympian Samantha McIntosh aboard Estina.
And there are young riders who have already shown they are stars of the future. Luke Dee captained the young rider Kiwi team to victory in the Trans Tasman Shield at the weekend, is aboard his own Ombudsman, with team-mate Rosie Commons starting her Glenara Chandon in their first world cup. Timothy Myers on Pick Me NZPH is another to keep an eye on.
With 16 entered, it could be anyone’s class, as all have plenty of talent and good horsepower.
The class is scheduled to go around 4.30pm on Saturday at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre, which is looking a picture for the three-star three-day show that started on Thursday and has attracted more than 720 entries.
The weekend will finish up with the two star Taupo Derby on Sunday.
Bayer World Cup New Zealand Series (after three rounds): Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 39 points, Bernard Denton (Feilding) 24, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) 17, Ross Smith (Canterbury) 13, Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) 12, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) 11.