Sam Felton and RR Pico Boo Adelaide CIC3*
Photo by Libby Law Photography
Following the cancellation of the cross-country phase of the Land Rover Eventing at the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings on Saturday 11th March, most of the riders robbed of a run there will be starting in the Honda CIC3* class at the Puhinui Horse Trials on 25th & 26th March. An excellent entry of 21 combinations has been received by Auckland Eventing, only one less than at Hastings.
Jackson Bovill (Matangi) will be hoping to repeat his great start at HOY, where he was the overnight leader on Visionnaire after the dressage and showjumping, while Sarah Young (Hamilton) will be hoping to go clear on Leo Degas, having relinquished her dressage lead with a rail down in the showjumping.
Having now had a Super League start in New Zealand, following her spring campaign in Australia, Samantha Felton (Matangi) is entitled to have her Australian points included in the Super League, and jumps into third place in the series with Ricker Ridge Pico Boo. They placed third in both the Goulburn and Adelaide CIC3* classes.
Felton has four horses entered in the 3* class, three of which started at Hastings, all showjumping clear, and was only a whisker behind Bovill there, riding Pico Boo. She has some leeway to make up in the Super League, but looks likely to close the gap on the two runaway leaders, Donna Edwards-Smith and Virginia Thompson.
Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata), who heads the Super League points table with DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, can never be discounted, although the short striding palomino will find the Puhinui terrain testing. Thompson (Kaukapakapa) and Star Nouveau will be at their favourite venue, having won the long format Puhinui CCI3* in December last year and the year before.
Brent Jury has left SE Hedging with Richard Otto and will return from Rangiora to ride him at Puhinui. The former New Zealand team farrier found the atmosphere at Hastings challenging for his young horse after the small events in the South Island, but is keen to give him good mileage in the north before taking him home.
Andy Daines (Kumeu) will be looking forward to riding Spring Panorama at Puhinui, having missed the December event after contesting the Adelaide CCI4* in November. They won the first Super League class of the 2016-17 year at Taupo in October prior to departure.
Diane Gilder (Drury) is to be congratulated for taking on the responsibility of being secretary for the event as well as riding her Australian thoroughbred Your Attorney. She will be hoping to make up for lost opportunities after missing the National Championships at Arran Station in October due to work commitments, finding the HOY cancellation particularly disappointing as a result.
Course designer Tich Massey will be hoping for good weather in the lead up to the event so his cross-country track can be suitably adapted for the shorter format of a CIC event. Dressage and showjumping take place on Saturday 25th and the cross-country on Sunday 26th.
ESNZ Eventing Super League Current standings:
Donna Edwards-Smith, DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, 114 pts; Virginia Thompson, Star Nouveau, 102 pts; Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, 72 pts; Felton, Ricker Ridge Escada, 57 pts; Jackson Bovill, Visionnaire, 51 pts; Andy Daines, Spring Panorama, 48 pts; Brent Jury, SE Hedging, 48 pts; Diane Gilder, Your Attorney, 36 pts.