Following the first phase of the CIC3* eventing at the NRM Horse of the Year Show in Hastings, veteran Matthew Grayling holds the lead on NRM Lowenberg, scoring 46.8 dressage penalties, with Donna Smith lying second on Balmoral Tangolooma on a score of 50.1 penalties.
Clarke Johnstone, who has returned from the UK and is now based in the Waikato, holds third and fourth position with the newly acquired former Smith horse Balmoral Sensation and Canterbury veterinarian Sam Taylor’s Leo Degas on 50.7 and 51 penalties respectively.
Dannie Lodder and Petra Eatson’s Moochi, the current leaders of the ESNZ Eventing Super League, are fifth with 53.4 penalties, ahead of Talent Development Squad member Samantha Felton on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, having their first start at this level. NZHP Accelerator Squad member Joseph Waldron, until recently based in Australia, is close behind on Springvale All Black with 54.9 penalties.
The sixteen starters handled the atmospheric conditions of the Land Rover premier arena with confidence, producing an improved standard of performance, so with scores so close, Saturday’s cross-country will be influential. Grayling is concerned about the ground conditions, although some areas have been aerated, and is hoping for rain overnight.
He said, “The course is good, but the going is variable,” referring to the track which winds through a number of competition arenas and warm up areas as well as the lake in Waikoko Gardens. He will not make a decision whether to run his horse until Saturday morning when he will re-assess the conditions.
The NZ Horse & Pony Magazine CIC2* class, with thirty-five starters, is led by Samantha Felton on Henton After Dark with 42.8 penalties, ahead of the NZ Young Rider One-day Event winners, Madison Crowe on Brogan and Chelsey Hawthorn on Pioneer Zeuss, who are second equal on 45.6 penalties.
Felton is also fourth equal on Ricker Ridge Escada with Dannie Lodder on Waitangi Icon with 48.3 penalties, and Sir Mark Todd is sixth equal on Kate Wood’s Drakkar with Donna Smith on Balmoral Henton with 48.6 penalties. Wood was here to watch the dressage but flew back to Whangarei for her brother’s wedding on Saturday so will not see the cross-country.
The 2* cross-country will seriously challenge these up and coming horses, with the intricacies of the track winding between tents and across arenas, while the 3* horses jump most of the same fences but with extra elements in the combinations, so is essentially a 2* plus track. Very few horses in either class will have witnessed the crowds of spectators expected at each vantage point, with the entire Show stopping for the duration of the cross-country.
Live streaming will be available on www.live.eventfreak.co.nz/hoy
Results after dressage:
CIC3*: Matthew Grayling, New Plymouth, NRM Lowenberg, 46.8, 1; Donna Smith, Te Kauwhata, Balmoral Tangolooma, 50.1, 2; Clarke Johnstone, Ngauruwahia, Balmoral Sensation, 50.7, 3; Johnstone, Leo Degas, 51, 4.
NZ Horse & Pony CIC2*: Samantha Felton, Hamilton, Henton After Dark, 42.8, 1; Madison Crowe, Rangiora, Brogan, 45.6, 2=; Chelsey Hawthorn, Te Awamutu, Pioneer Zeuss, 45.6, 2=; Felton, Ricker Ridge Escada, 48.3, 4=, Dannie Lodder, Auckland, Waitanhi Icon, 48.3, 4=.