Claudia Hay and Euro Sport Centavos won the prestigious Bostock International Olympic Cup at New Zealand’s Farmlands Horse of the Year Show in Hastings on Sunday.
The combination headed a 17-strong field, which included previous winners Katie Laurie and Maurice Beatson, and international riders Daniel Meech and Helen McNaught-McFarlane.
Hay, the first South Islander to win the $200,000 Olympic Cup since the 1970s, and her black German-bred stallion also won the second-richest class of the show, the McMillan Equine Feeds Silver Fern Stakes.
The first round of the Olympic Cup saw clears from just four combinations – teenager Amanda Wilson and her coloured horse Showtym Cassanova, followed by Hay, then former Olympian Meech on his imported mare Queen of Dance WHS, and finally McNaught-McFarlane on her quirky young grey Carnutelabryere.
Those with 12 faults or fewer came back for the second round where five-time winner Laurie went clear on her 2014 Olympic Cup champ Dunstan Springfield. Beatson and his 20-year-old star My Gollywog, who won the cup in 2013, picked up just a single time fault, to finish on nine faults from the two rounds.
Hay also went clear but had a single time fault, to sit on one, while Laurie and her youngster Dunstan Breeze went clear to sit on eight, and McNaught-McFarlane had a rail at the second to finish on four.
The quietly-spoken Hay was rapt.
“This has been our target for the show,” she said. “It is just incredible, I can’t believe it. Centavos has a fantastic temperament and gives 100% every time he goes out.”
Hay also won the Leading Rider of the Show.
Bostock International Olympic Cup: Claudia Hay (Mosgiel) Euro Sport Centavos 1, Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) Carnutelabryere 2, Daniel Meech (Clevedon) Queen of Dance WHS 3, Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Breeze 4, Amanda Wilson (Hikurangi) Showtym Cassanova and Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) My Gollywog 6.
Junior Rider of the Year
Nakeysha Lammers and Skewy have taken out the Fiber Fresh Feeds Junior Rider of the Year title.
The 18-year-old and her mount were one of just seven combinations from the original 29 starters to come back for the jump-off.
Out first was Emily Hayward-Morgan on Yandoo Lady Gold who had eight faults in 37.17 seconds. Then came Lammers who had the first fence down. “When that rail fell I just got that sunken feeling in my stomach,” she said. “But I knew I just had to keep going and pushing it because you never know what is going to happen.”
They did just that, finishing with the four faults in 37.12. Next out Maddy Marshall and Chances R had 15 faults, and were followed by Kayla James and Scenario who had just four, stopping the clock in 39.22.
Lucy Bull and Westhay Grace picked up 12 faults, while Kimberley Bird and Wenrose Vertigo had eight in 37.59. Lily Tootill and Miss Cassinei MS looked to be the danger girl, but a rail put paid to a win for her and she finished with four faults in 39.63.
It was a long wait for Lammers, who is in just her second season with 13-year-old Skewy, and third in the Junior Rider. Last season she won the Junior Rider series.
Lammers is trained by John Cottle, and fittingly, she won the Super Moth Trophy as the Junior Rider Champ.
Last year she and Skewy won the Intermediate Rider of the Year, but this is her first title in the Premier Arena.
Fiber Fresh Feeds Junior Rider of the Year Championship: Nakeysha Lammers (Hikurangi) Skewy 1, Kayla James (Christchurch) Scenario 2, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Miss Cassinei MS 3, Emily Haywood-Morgan (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 4, Kimberly Bird (Taranaki) Wenrose Vertigo 5, Lucy Bull (Taupo) Westway Grace 6.