Hastings’ Melody Matheson riding Cheltenham set up the northern trifecta with a speedy jump off performance.
Ten started the class including four North Islanders – Matheson, Lily Toothill on Ngahiwi Cruise, Logan Massie on Kiwi Ludo and Hannah Burnett-Grant with Carlotta and BG Conny –over the big challenging track designed by international course designer Gerrit Beker from Tauranga.
Just Matheson and Massie pulled out clear rounds to ride off against the clock, with Matheson taking the honours. Toothill took third as the fastest of the four faulters ahead of Leeston’s Rose Alfeld on My Super Nova, also on 4 faults.
The Young Rider class was the highlight of the day, kicking off four days of top class jumping action in the south.
Friday’s action includes the Pony Grand Prix, which will feature newly crowned North Island champion Steffi Whittaker on Moonlight Glow. Whittaker will be up against 10 other top pony combinations from around the country, including Briar Burnett-Grant with Mighty Maximus and Pioneer Jade, as well as arch rivals Lucinda Askin with Totem and Buckle Up, and Lucy Turner on Tallyho Mystic among others.
A field of 17 will also do battle in the One Star Horse Grand Prix, where local Claudia Hay will be looking for a top performance aboard Euro Sport Centavos, backing up from a win in the Elite Rider class on Thursday with the only clear round. She also starts Euro Sport Heartbreaker, but comes up against a line-up which includes North Island contenders Katie McVean and Maurice Beatson.
The Amateur Rider, Pro Amateur Series, and Junior Rider Series take place on Friday before action moves to the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday afternoon for Ride the Rhythm – a thrilling night of music and high-action equestrian entertainment combined featuring the country’s top combinations.
Building on its success last year, Ride the Rhythm promises a night not to be missed with the Southern Wide Real Estate Horse Jumping 1.30m, Perlas Potatoes Pony Grand Prix, GJ Gardner Homes High Jump, and the $50,000 McMillian Equine Feeds Super Grand Prix, as well as the Pryde’s Dressage Meets Cowboy Musical and stunts from trick rider Sonia Duncan. Music from the world’s number one Abba show, Bjorn Again, will round out the night.
The action returns to the agricultural park on Sunday for the age group series classes and the 25th NZ Master Games equestrian competition.
Three show jumping rings will be in use at the agricultural park as well as a dedicated showhunter ring on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
RESULTS: Telford Young Rider Series – Melody Matheson (Hastings) Cheltenham 1, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Kiwi Ludo 2, Lily Toothill (Karaka) Ngahiwi Cruise 3, Rose Alfeld (Leeston) My Super Nova 4, Nicole White (Invercargill) Cricklewood Ace 5, Olivia Robertson (OHoka) Ngahiwi Cisco 6.
Euro Sport Elite Rider – Claudia Hay (Mosgiel) Euro Sport Centavos 1, Rik Van Miltenburg (Milton) Truly Unique 2, Brad Cunningham (Christchurch) Kiwi Crusher 3, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Centrico 4.