History in the making at Holy Grail

Back to Article Search

(Photo: Kampic Photography)

Combine a stunning venue with heart-stopping, thrill-seeking excitement and you’ve got Showjumping’s Holy Grail.

Held on Sunday, March 16 at the Church Road Winery, the new-look event starts a horse-powered week that ends seven days later with the awarding of the JB Olympic Cup at the NRM Horse of the Year Show.

The speed and power format of the Holy Grail is set to revolutionise the sport of showjumping, according to Kevin Hansen, the man behind the event.

“Full throttle jumping puts a completely different slant on showjumping,” says Hansen.

He is pitching the Black Jumpers (New Zealand) against the Yellow Roos (Australia) for an eight on eight speed versus power competition.

Each of the 16 is seeded, with the four top combinations coming back for the ultimate in challenges – the fences go up but the speed has to climb also, making for heart-stopping action from very brave horses and riders.

“It is an untried event, but I think the concept is brilliant and it really does puts plenty of excitement into our sport. This is showjumping’s answer to 20/20 cricket.”

The internationally-ranked FEI designer Gerrit Beker (Tauranga) will build the courses.

Current World Champ showjumper Philippe Le Jeune (Belgium) will be donning an All Black jersey for the class.

Also on the card at the iconic Church Road Winery is a 1.35m, horse and a 1.2m pony. Competition gets under way at 11am, but Hansen recommends people arrive in time for the 1.35m jump-off at 12.30pm. Full throttle is set to start at 2pm.

Corporate tickets are available ($99 through and include a divine buffet lunch, complimentary beverage and VIP ringside seating. Tickets to the Holy Grail are available through .

The Church Road Winery is a popular destination, with it’s stunning natural amphitheatre in beautiful park like grounds. Perfect for a family picnic and a thrilling afternoon’s entertainment.

“Pack a picnic and bring the whole family,” says Hansen. “This is going to be an incredible event.”