Kelt Capital Horse of the Year - A celebration of all things equestrian - New Zealand


by Diana Dobson

Rachel McGregor wasn’t going to let a ruptured cruciate ligament get in the way of the Kelt Capital Horse of the Year Show.
The 19-year-old from Auckland today (Friday) won the prestigious Young Rider of the Year crown – a class she wasn’t even sure she would be able to start in a month ago.
Riding her 13-year-old gelding Premium Kabo Benny Boy, she was the only clear round within time over a challenging and technical Leopoldo Palacios (Venezuela) designed course.
Twenty-two started the class, with the time proving just too tight for many. Rails fell freely and it wasn’t until two-thirds of the way through the class that McGregor entered the ring.
Ahead of her, Emma Williams (Masterton) and Cricklewood Ace had gone clear but picked up a time fault.
“I wanted to make sure I didn’t make the same mistake as Emma,” said McGregor. “She rode a great round but you really had to keep going and turn quickly to keep inside that time.”
A clutch of riders had just four faults, with placings decided on time, giving third spot to Heather Horrocks (Wanganui) on Mister Pirate, and Tegan Fitzsimon (Christchurch) on Party Time fourth.
Earlier in the show McGregor won reserve champion sport horse with Henton Exclusive among other placings.
Each time she competes, her leg is heavily strapped, with extra support from a bandage on the outside.
“We’re spending a small fortune on tape,” said the Massey University student.
Despite the injury, it has been a fantastic season for McGregor who won gold and silver medals at the Youth Olympics in Sydney in January. She was one of a handful of rising young rider stars tussling it out at the top of the young rider leader board for much of the season, but injuries to both her and her horse put paid to that.
She has been named in the New Zealand young rider team to take on the Australians for trans Tasman glory at the New Zealand Young Horse Show in Taupo next month.
Despite one doctor telling McGregor she wouldn’t be riding again this season, she has no intention of missing that date.
“Especially not after this win,” she said. “I’ll think about the surgery side of things once that’s all over.”
New Zealand has taken an early lead in the tri nations competition against South Africa and Japan after a strong win today. Rounds will follow tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday.
The Kelt Capital Horse of the Year Show continues through to Sunday when the Bell Tea Olympic Cup will be presented to the New Zealand Showjumper of the Year. A strong field, including a number of Olympians and top riders from Australia and New Zealand, will start in the class which has a prize purse of $750,000.
The class carries the extra kudos of being a qualifier for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.
The show has attracted 2500 horses and riders, who are competing over 17 disciplines throughout the week.
It is one of the largest sporting events in the Southern Hemisphere.

Results –
Young Rider of the Year: Rachel McGregor (Auckland) Premium Kabo Benny Boy 1, Emma Williams (Masterton) Cricklewood Ace 2, Heather Horrocks (Wanganui) Mister Pirate 3, Tegan Fitzsimon (Christchurch) Party Time 4, Caroline Parkes (Gisborne) Bush Magic 5, Tegan Fitzsimon (Christchurch) Waitangi Jet Stream 6.
Tri nations series, New Zealand: Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Kiwi Chocolate (owned by Jess Wilson) 8 faults, 4 faults; Team That Horse Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) Optional NZPH (owned by Sally Steiner) 8f, clear; Robert Steele (Hawera) Windvale Gracious (owned by Erin Clarke) 4f, clear; Anna Trent (Hawke’s Bay) Kitchiwa (owned by Megan Stacey) 4f, 4f.
Japan: Daisuke Kawaguchi, Cortaflex Ocean Beach NZPH (owned by NZPH) c, c; Tae Sato, Shimmerman (owned by Megan Stacey) 4f, 16f; Aki Ito, Sammy Ngati (owned by Claire Forbes and Deserei Foxley) 16f, 12f; Hidehiko Tukuda, Sirocco Hercules (owned by John Couper) c, 4f.
South Africa: Oliver Lazarus, Two Four One (owned by Devon von Til) eliminated 16f; Lisa Williams, Cortaflex Playtime NZPH (owned by NZPH) 17f, 17f; Lexi Carter, Grindley (owned by Paula Mussen) c, 16f; Dominey Alexander, Rhythm (owned by Samantha Peters) 4f, c.
Best three scores, round one: Japan 4f, New Zealand 16f, South Africa 21f. Round two: New Zealand 4f, Japan 16f, South Africa 32f. Totals: New Zealand 20f, Japan 20f, South Africa 53f.
Jump off: New Zealand – Robert Steele (Hawera) c, Anna Trent (Hawke’s Bay) Kitchiwa c. Japan – Daisuke Kawaguchi, Cortaflex Ocean Beach NZPH 8f, Hikehiko Tukuda, Sirocco Hercules c.
New Zealand 1, Japan 2, South Africa 3.

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