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Norwood Winner Not Defending

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CAPTION: Luke Dee and Ombudsman competing at the 2014 HOY. Photo: Christine Cornege Photography


Luke Dee is about to miss his first Horse of the Year Show in 13 years . . . and as torn as he is, he’s got the perfect excuse.

The 21-year-old has just landed a new job with top Kiwi rider Sharn Wordley, and is looking after the horses of clients Julia Jenkins and George Strawbridge in Wellington, Florida.

Dee and Ombudsman won the Norwood Gold Cup at the 2014 HOY.

It’s a shame we won’t be at HOY to defend that,” says Dee. “I haven’t miss a HOY since I was eight . . . but I will definitely be following it through live streaming.”

He was planning to shift to Wordley in early April, but when this opportunity came up last month, it was too good to turn down. He’s left his previous job with the full support of his former employers Missy Clark and John Brennan, who he was with for nearly a year.

John and Missy were very excited for me, and encouraged me to take the job. I didn’t do a lot of competing while there, but learnt a huge amount from them.”

The four European imported horses hadn’t competed for a while, but Dee now has them in work. Three are now competing at 1.25m level and he expects them to step up over the next few weeks.

Calumpi is the fourth horse, and one that both Dee and Wordley think has plenty of potential.

I have been competing him at 1.35m but will step him up over the next few weeks.”

He’s also still got Ombudsman who is now for sale.

We’ve been competing in the lower classes, and he has always been a very good and consistent horse for me, so will be a bit sad to see him go. He has been a great horse for me.”

Dee has found the world of competing in the United States quite different to home.

It is hard to get a job where you can compete so I am very lucky to have this opportunity. It’s one I plan to make the most of!”

In mid April the team will head to Lexington, Kentucky, where Dee will work and manage a barn of Wordley’s horses.

Ashley and Sharn will head to Spruce Meadows and then on to Europe, and I will be their main rider while they are away.”

And that makes him a very happy young man.

It is long days and hard work at times, but all so worth it. I am having a lot of fun and made many good friends.”

Dee says he misses home, but is on a mission.

I definitely hope to make it to the Olympics one day . . . that’s the plan.”



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