Samantha McIntosh filled the top two places in New Zealand’s Bayer FEI World Cup round in Taupo on Saturday.
The Olympian and World Champs rider won the class aboard her sometimes feisty mare Estina, backing up their victory in the world cup round at Feilding earlier this month, and was second on Argento, who was having her first world cup start.
Her efforts saw her jump from third on the leaderboard to first.
“What a nice Christmas present,” said the 38-year-old. “They were both so on the job. Estina is as brave as a lion and just knows when to step up.”
It was a bit of an unknown with 10-year-old Argento as McIntosh has never jumped her in a class as big. However, she needn’t have worried – the mare was clear in both rounds, and picked up just a single time fault in the last.
“They both made my job very easy today.”
McIntosh feels there is still plenty to come from nine-year-old import Estina.
“Now that she has her mind on the job, she is stepping up in leaps and bounds. I am just rapt with the pair of them.”
The Roger Laplanche course was big and technical, proving plenty of challenges for the 12 starters – three of whom retired in the first round. The class was also a qualifier for the World Equestrian Championships in France next year, the first step to being available for selection for the New Zealand team.
The first round produced just two clear rounds from McIntosh and her two mounts, with three combinations retiring. The others rallied a little in the second round, with former series winner Katie McVean and Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark going clear, along with Luke Dee and Ombudsman.
Logan Massie and Kiwi Ludo finished fifth in their first world cup start.
There are just two rounds remaining in the New Zealand World Cup series, with points from the best four to count. The final is at the Waitemata World Cup Final Festival at Woodhill Sands on Sunday, January 12.
The series winner has the opportunity to travel to Lyon, in France, for the final in April.
Bayer FEI World Cup: Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) Estina (owned by Lakeridge Equestrian) 1, Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) Argento 2, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) Ombudsman 3, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark 4, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Kiwi Ludo 5, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Schimmel Warrior 6.
Bayer FEI World Cup NZ League (after four of six rounds):
Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) 68 points, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) 62, Susie Hayward (Canterbury) 60, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) 49, Jono Smith (Auckland) 23.