By Diana Dobson
Samantha Morrison and the bucky Biarritz were in a class of their own in the Bayleys Real Estate FEI World Cup Qualifier at the APL Showjumping Waikato Festival of Jumping at Mystery Creek this afternoon.
The Tauranga combination were the only ones of 11 starters to finish the two round competition in single digits, and bagged the only clear to boot.
Gerrit Beker certainly challenged the class, held in the indoor arena at Mystery Creek.
In the opening round, Morrison (Tauranga) had five faults, Melody Matheson (Hastings) aboard Graffiti MH, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) and My Super Nova and Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) on Mandalay Cove all had 12 faults apiece, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) and AP Ninja had 17, and Tess Clark (Gisborne) aboard Sinatra II and Daniel Blundell (Auckland) on Lavello had 20 each. Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) retired both Breeze and Esteban MVNZ, and Samantha Peters (Whangarei) aboard Zabambi and William Willis (Karaka) on Dollar Roll MS were eliminated.
Just those with 12 faults and less came back for the second where Matheson added 16 to finish on 28, Beatson added eight to finish on 20, Alfeld dropped just one to end up on 16 and fittingly, Morrison was all clear to remain on five.
Morrison, who was towards the end of the field in the opening round, said she could hear from the warm-up others were having problems with the course.
"I just thought I had to go ride it well" said the 22-year-old. "We just had to keep the rhythm and keep him going - Biarritz was just outstanding."
The 12-year-old Selle Francais, who is by Lindberg des Hayettes, was certainly very excited coming into the tight indoor arena.
"He is very alert and aware of what is going on around him so does get a little overexcited," said Morrison. "He is just super though. He tried his heart out. I am so happy."
She felt when she walked the track, that most competitors would have been fine, however once in the ring, realised it took a lot of jumping.
"The lines were forward, so you had to land and keep going. When I walked the track with Helen (McNaught-McFarlane) and Duncan (McFarlane), they just said to not panic. I owe a lot to them - they have been phenomenal this season with their support and teaching."
Next on Morrison's list is EQUITANA Auckland, followed by the remainder of the World Cup series and then Horse of the Year.
"I would like to win the series this year - I was third last season - and of course the Olympic Cup is a big goal."
Today's win moved Morrison up to second on the World Cup leaderboard, with Alfeld holding on to her lead by just two points.
The next qualifier is in Hawera later this month.
In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Emma Watson (Morrinsville) and Maddox Fun House clocked a double clear in 42.46 seconds to take the honours ahead of Olivia Dalton (Coatesville) and Simply Samantha HH who had a rail mid field but stopped the clock at 40.88 seconds. Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) and Redcliffs Bill came home for third in the 14 strong field with a single rail in 42.02 seconds.
Bayleys Real Estate FEI World Cup Qualifier: Samantha Morrison (Tauranga) Biarritz 1, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) My Super Nova 2, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Mandalay Cove 3, Melody Matheson (Hastings) Graffiti MH 4, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) AP Ninja 5, Daniel Blundell (Auckland) Lavello 6.
FEI World Cup leaderboard (after two rounds): Rose Alfeld (Leeston) 37 points, Samantha Morrison (Tauranga) 35, Melody Matheson (Hastings) 22, Tess Clark (Gisborne) 21, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 20, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) 18, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) 17, Daniel Blundell (Auckland) 13, Lily Tootill (Karaka) 13 and Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) 12.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Fun House 1, Olivia Dalton (Coatesville) Simply Samantha HH 2, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) Redcliffs Bill 3, Brett Horsburgh (Cambridge) Showtym Endeavour 4, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 5, Peita Milne (Nelson) BG Lennox 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Junior Rider Series: Matthew Irvine (Takapau) La Perla 1, Deanna Horsburgh () Ngahiwi Possum 2, Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) George Jetson 3, Sophie Littlejohn (Auckland) Hawkesdale Remmy 4, Charlotte Amos (Cambridge) Kabo Marmite 5, Leeshelle Small (Ramarama) Mr Muscles 6.
Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider Series: Julia Johnston (Tuakau) Starlight Dalaman 1, Andrea Kewish (Cambridge) Spring Fling 2, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) Code Air 3, Melanie Dudding (Tuakau) Country Zena 4, Kelsey Leahy (Cambridge) Showcause 5, Carla Ross (Taupo) Tricks Unlimited 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Pro Amateur Rider Series: Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) Aldivo 2 1, Madison Crow (Hamilton) Lucius GNZ 2, Bob Bleakley (Whangarei) Airthrey Resolution 3, Emma Gaze (Ohaupo) Woodland Bug 4, Nick Brooks (Cambridge) For Fame 5, Cerys Tarr (Rotorua) Madam Coco 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Mikayla Herbert (Rotorua) Grand Caballo 1, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Waitangi Surf 2, Maia Coster (Tauranga) Landenfeld 3, Elmo Jackson (Auckland) Next 4, Laura Inkster (Clevedon) Oporaes Jackamoe 5, Nakeysha Lammers (Hikurangi) Resolution 6.
Purepine Shavings Seven-Year-Old Series: Leeshelle Small (Ramarama) Mr Muscles 1, Duncan McFarlane (Taupo) Be Mine NZPH 2, Hannah Bodle (Morrinsville) Whakanui Homebrew 3, Helen McNaught-McFarlane (Taupo) La Riviere 4, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Dolly Blue 5, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) KBS The Irishman 6.
Mitavite Six-Year-Old Series: Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) McCaw MVNZ 1.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Vicki Prendergast (Matamata) Selena C, Luke Dee (Hastings) Clearcut Xtreme, Jaime Campbell (Cambridge) Malarkey, Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) Dolce NZPH =1.