It was a drama filled cross-country day at New Zealand’s Puhinui International Horse Trials on Saturday, with Virginia Thompson on Star Noveau emerging as leaders in the CCI3*. The pair absolutely nailed the challenging jumps, and were the only ones to finish on their dressage score.
Beaming from ear to ear after crossing the finish flags, Thompson said: “That was out of this world, she is just one in a million. She gave me everything she had. She answered every question.
“What I was most proud of is that we made time as that has been a huge personal goal for me. I am a little bit of a nana. We have been working really hard at trying to work out how to shave lines and stepping up quicker after fences.”
Overnight leader Dannie Lodder also flew around the course and was buzzing after her round on Tomahawk II. “He is awesome. Just the best ride I have had. He is it, he is my Mr Perfect horse.”
Unfortunately that elation turned to absolute despair a few minutes later when she was told she had missed a fence towards the end of the course, meaning elimination from the competition. “I had a complete brain fade. It is so left field for me. You get so close to getting home, and then you think there is only one sort of challenge left that you have to worry about and you delete the information about the fence preceding that. What was really sad is that I had to go through unmown grass to avoid jumping it.”
Katharine Van Tuyl moved up to second place on her exciting young horse, Double J Sunshine. This was the pair’s first attempt at the high-level class, and to finish clear with just eight time faults was a great achievement. “It was always going to be a massive ask for him. He made a couple of mistakes but he’s only eight so he is really the baby of the class.”
Andy Daines on Spring Panorama has moved up to third place, also going clear jumping but with 7.6 time faults.
“He was absolutely amazing. He made it feel really good. It rode a lot better than I thought. There were a few combinations where I thought I would really have to dig in deep but when we got there it just flowed really nicely,” Daines said.
There are only five combinations left in the contest after the testing cross-course. Shelley Ross had a fall off Coleraine Coaltown and Francesca Silver retired Case in Point early in the course. Samantha Felton had a run out early in the course but completed the rest well, although with some time faults.
In the iSpyHorses CCI2*, evergreen Campbell Draper has moved into the lead after just 4.4 time faults on the cross country with his horse Mr Mancini. Right behind him is Donna Smith on Mr Hokey Pokey, with Kate Wood on Wolf Whistle II third. Smith had led after the dressage on Quantico, but 16 time faults dropped her down to fourth place.
In the Honda NZ CCI2* Young Rider competition, dressage leader Jackson Bovill retained his lead on Visionnaire, and Sarah Young on SS Galaxy moved up to second place with just 2.8 time faults. Tayla Mason on Royalty added 9.2 time faults to move into third.
Emily Cammock had been in the lead after dressage on Donellan in the Veterinary Associates CCI1* but didn’t have a happy cross-country, not helped by snapping a breastplate. However on her next horse, Cavorts, she had a great round, despite being held for 8 minutes. The pair have moved up into the lead, with no jumping or time faults.
Nick Brooks on Lexington were also fault free and are in second spot. Cammock was back out again on Ngahiwi Frostie, and also put in a faultless round to finish in third place. Christen Lane on Kinnordy Gallilee are in fourth place.
Showjumping is going to be interesting as there is only 7 faults between the first and tenth horse.
In the Devi Heating CCI1* Junior Rider, Lucy Turner leads on Carbon with 49.3, and is also fourth on Tallyho Mystic with 56.0. Elizabeth Wylaars on Wairoa Ruby and Fleur Rohlede on The Alchemist also put in fault free rounds to be second and third respectively.
The NZ Horse & Pony CCN105 saw a good number of clear rounds including from the dressage leader, Cherie Jacques on Black Gem. Sarah Young on The Little Prince is now in second place after going clear under time, with Dannie Lodder and My Tom Tom following suit to be in third.
Subject to competitors passing the final horse inspection, the showjumping will start on Sunday at 9:30am. The Honda NZ CCI3* is scheduled to start at 1:30pm.