A 13-hour trek from Canterbury to Dannevirke paid dividends for Ross Smith, who won the fifth round of the Bayer FEI World Cup at the Central and Southern Hawke’s Bay Jumping Show on Sunday.
Smith brought a truckload north, including youngsters he teaches and his stallion Quite Cassini for the three-star show.
He is now within six points of series leader Maurice Beatson.
Smith and nine-year-old Quite Cassini were the only combination of the starting nine to go clear in the opening round, and picked up four faults for a rail in the second to give them victory.
“I’m very excited for (owners) Deborah and Scott Massey, the sponsors and our family,” said Smith. “It is a big commitment from them all and to come all the way up here and win against good horses is nice.”
The Kevin Hansen designed course had been “a good rideable course but was big and technical enough”.
And Smith felt it put them in a very good spot as they head to the business end of the season and the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show in Hastings in March.
“We’ve had a very good season,” he said. “We’re unlikely to do any more world cups though because I feel we are 12 months away from taking that next step to go to the world final if we did win the series.
”However, as we head to the Horse of the Year Show, we’re in a good place.”
In the second round clears came from eventual second placegetter and three-time series winner Katie McVean and Dunstan Springfield, as well as Lucy Akers on Cortaflex Tinapai and Tim Myers on Pick Me NZPH.
Bayer FEI World Cup NZ League (fifth round): Ross Smith (Canterbury) Quite Cassini (owned Scott and Deborah Massey) 1, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Springfield 2, Tim Myers (Hawera) Pick Me NZPH 3, Lucy Akers (Opiki) Cortaflex Tinapai 4, Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) Swinger 5, Bernard Denton (Feilding) Horsesports Suzuki 6.
World Cup points (best four rounds to count): Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 42 points, Bernard Denton (Feilding) 37, Ross Smith (Canterbury) 36, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) 31, Tim Myers (Hawera) 29, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) 19, Lucy Akers (Opiki) 17.
Horse grand prix 1*: Anna Stephen (Martinborough) Constantine 1, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Springfield 2, Ross Smith (Canterbury) Quite Cassini 3, Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) Tipsey 4, Lucy Akers (Opiki) Cortaflex Tinapai 5, Bernard Denton (Feilding) Horsesports Suzuki 6.
Pony Grand Prix Series: Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Mighty Maximus 1, Melanie Weal (Te Awamutu) Hopeful Illusion 2, Megan O’Grady (Tauranga) The Dreamer 3, Jessie Goggin (Wellington) Te Mata Miss 4, Rebecca Porter (Hawke’s Bay) Sushi 5, Emily Fraser (Takapau) Tony The Pony 6.
Young Rider Series: Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) Ombudsman 1, Nicki Booth (Masterton) Edna Van Overis 2, Hannah Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Ngahiwi Telephonic 3, Rosie Commons (Auckland) Glenara Chandon 4, Jesse Linton (Napier) Bessette 5, Tim Myers (Hawera) Pick Me NZPH 6.
KiwiSpan Junior Rider Series: Rebekah van Tiel (Karaka) Leeston Eagle 1, Melanie Weal (Te Awamutu) Cross Your Heart 2, Freya Gordon (Hawke’s Bay) The Big Apple 3, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Phoebe Nimmerdor 4, Will Moffett (Hawke’s Bay) Dark Vader 5, Freya Gordon (Hawke’s Bay) Kaipara Bedle 6.
Caledonian Amateur Rider: Kelly Smith (Foxton) Summer Solei 1, Charlotte McGregor (Cambridge) Stargazer 2, Joanne Denton (Wellington) Merchiston Heathcliffe 3, Olivia Goodsir (Otaki) My Secret 4, Kelsey Espin (Stratford) Glamorous 5, Jo Andrews (Otaki) Ecxtacy 6.
STH Pro Amateur Rider Series: Pearl Delaney-Girdlestone (Wellington) Windale Gracious 1, Amy Playle (Hawke’s Bay) Oscar Star 2, Tracy Mason (Napier) Tiger Lily 3, Brooke Zander (Waipukurau) Double J Rumours 4, Trudi Mitchell (Wairoa) Strike Three 5, Douglas Thomson (Wellington) Marksman Arrow 6.
Seven Year Old Series: Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) Finnetto 1, Brooke Zander (Waipukurau) Double J Rumours 2, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Double J Cloud 9 3, Lucy Akers (Opiki) Cortaflex Hades 4, Sarah Jocelyn (Wainuiomata) Curioso 5.
Mitavite Six Year Old Series: Jesse Linton (Napier) Mustang’s Edition and Jesse Linton (Napier) AP Ninja =1.
Fernhill Stud Five Year Old: Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) Uniquely Blue NZPH, Ashley Hart (Hastings) Kiwi Jet, Noni Morgan (Hastings) Mustang’s Mack =1.