by Diana Dobson

Doug Isaacson has pushed all thoughts of retirement out of his mind after a spectacular win in the Silver Fern Stakes at the Kelt Capital Horse of the Year Show in Hastings tonight (Friday).
The 61-year-old granddad from Dannevirke and his nine-year-old bay gelding Brother Brown blitzed a far more preferred field on his way to victory in one of the show’s biggest classes.
Twenty-four started the class, with 13, with four faults or less, going through to the second round.
Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke), who won the Norwood Gold Cup earlier in the show, had three horses through, along with Kiwi Olympian Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) who had both her mounts through.
They joined top Australia combinations Chris Chugg and Vivant, who were reserves for the Beijing Olympics, and Olympic gold medal eventer Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set.
At stake was a winner’s purse of $15,000.
Isaacson wasn’t bothered by his rich opposition, saying he concentrated on beating the course.
“That’s who I have to beat whenever I go out there,” he said.
He was one of the early combinations to go in the jump off and set a cracking pace in fine style.
“I really thought they would get me,” he said.
But plain to see was the bond between Isaacson and his horse, who he broke in at three-and-a-half years old.
Brother Brown turned up with his own brother Major Brown at Isaacson’s property – he bought them sight unseen and was almost afraid to look as they came off the cattle truck.
“I heard they were booked on the dog tucker truck a few days later.”
Tonight (Friday) that ‘dog tucker’ headed off horses with impressive breeding and accomplishments.
Isaacson, who won the Olympic Cup as NZ Showjumper of the Year in 1979 on Chicago Peace and placed fourth in the Pony of the Year in 1959, says his Silver Fern Stakes win is probably the second greatest of his career.
He’s had a good season though, with plenty of consistency from both his brothers Brown.
He figures he may have to rethink retirement after such a win.
“The course out there was technical but he’s a smart horse,” he said. “I thought I might be able to run a place out there but to win it….. who would have thought?”
Schaeffer was second finishing clear after the two rounds on 61.71, with Beatson third, also clear in 64.16.
The KCHoY continues through to Sunday when the Bell Tea Olympic Cup will be presented to the NZ Showjumper of the Year and the $750,000 prize purse divvied up.
Results –
Silver Fern Stakes: Doug Isaacson (Dannevirke) Brother Brown 1, Wendy Schaeffer (Australia) Koyuna Sun Set 2, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) My Gollywog 3, Julia Hargreaves (Australia) Copabella Haymen 4, Chris Chugg (Australia) Vivant 5, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Jedi Warrior 6, Laurie Lever (Australia) Ashleigh Drossel Dan 7, Samantha McIntosh (Waikato/Germany) Lindberg des Hayettes (owned by Steve Cohen) 8, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Zibbibo 9, Becky Allen (Australia) Koyuna Ted 10.

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