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Showjumping's Holy Grail a huge success

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It's one apiece to New Zealand and Australia after a picture-perfect day at Showjumping's Holy Grail at Church Road Winery in Hawke's Bay today.

New Zealand took out the young rider trans Tasman test, with the Aussies securing the senior.

In the senior World Champs hopeful Alison Rowland (Australia) aboard Bickley Brook Bella (owned by Rowland, Nicol Taylor and Peter Cooke) was the only combination to go double clear. Her team-mate Tom McDermott aboard Romantic Dream (owned by Simon, Brenda, Sam and Jess Tripp) notched the only other clear of the round.

It was a different story in the second round, which saw clears from Rowland, Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) on Estina, Rory Hovell (Australia) on Yalambi's Val d'Isere, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) on Ombudsman and Sharon Slater (Australia) CP Ulixes.

But it was all rather elementary, as the Kiwis carried 24 faults to the Australian's four into the second, where they added another four faults.

However, there were plenty of positives to come from the course, which was co-built by Gary Sinclair (Levin) and Peter Cooke (Australia), and praise from all angles for Kevin Hansen's vision in creating the event.

Cooke went as far as saying the venue and grounds were the best he had seen in a decade.

Australian chef d'equipe Ben Netterfield was rapt with the win, particularly as it was from a young crop of horses who were tilting towards the 2014 World Champs.

“New Zealand have already put on a wonderful show,” he said.

Kiwi chef d'equipe Richard Sunderland (Tauranga) said it was disappointing to lose, but valuable experience for combinations not used to riding for a national team.

Young rider chef d'equipe John Cottle (Auckland) had more to celebrate. The second round saw a pressure-cooker clear round from team anchor Logan Massie (Dannevirke) on Kiwi Ludo (owned by Massie and Annette Scott). Ahead of him team-mates Bridget Hansen (Ocean Beach) on Shakespeare NZPH and Melody Matheson (Hastings) on Cheltenham had also ridden brilliant clears.

The second and final round of the test series will be held at the Horse of the Year Show this week.
Earlier in the day, Maddison Bult (Karaka) and Mr Black Magic were too slick for the rest of the field in the Holy Grail 1.2m pony table C which saw faults turned into time, while Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) took the quinella in the Holy Grail 1.35m horse.

More than 1800 people loaded children, picnics and sun umbrellas for an incredible day's entertainment at the stunning Church Road Winery, bringing a completely new dimension to a venue well used to hosting concerts, theatre and fun.

They also enjoyed a dressage display by Jody Hartstone (Raglan) and her stunning imported stallion Ali Baba.

Hope are high Showjumping's Holy Grail will become an annual event.

Organiser Kevin Hansen said he was over the moon with the turn-out and feed-back.

“I am thrilled to think that many of these people will have been enjoying our sport for the first time – it's a real add-on for the people of Hawke's Bay to make the most of the best of equestrian.”

Combinations now head to the Horse of the Year Show, which starts on Tuesday and runs through to Sunday at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds. More than 2600 combinations will battle it out over 18 disciplines for top honours. The show culminates with the presentation of the JB Olympic Cup for the showjumper of the year.

Special guest Sir Mark Todd will compete in the New Zealand Speed Horse Championship, early Sunday afternoon.

Results -

Telecom Nations Cup Australia v New Zealand young rider: New Zealand (Rosie Commons, Auckland, Glenara Chandon; Bridget Hansen, Ocean Beach, Shakespeare NZPH; Melody Matheson, Hastings, Cheltenham; Logan Massie, Dannevirke, Kiwi Ludo)
12 faults 1, Australia (Jack Maunder, Cyra; James Arkins, Dreamtime Invader; Nicole Bruggemann, Blusta; Sarah Beale, Alphe Centauri) 16 faults 2.

Mitavite Nations Cup Australia v New Zealand senior test: Australia (Alison Rowland, Bickley Brook Bella; Rory Hovell, Yalambi's Val d'Isere VDL; Sharon Slater, CP Ulixes; Tom McDermott, Romantic Dream) 4 faults 1, New Zealand (Katie McVean, Mystery Creek, Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark; Ross Smith, Canterbury, Quite Cassini; Samantha McIntosh, Cambridge, Estina; Luke Dee, Ocean Beach, Ombudsman) 28 faults 2.

Holy Grail 1.35m horse: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Zasjany G 1, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Zerenland 2, Jamie Winning (Australia) Yandoo Zenzel HBC 3, Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) Alaric II (owned by Gerrit and Jenny Beker) 4, Alison Rowland (Australia) Bickley Brook Bianca 5, Sarah Isbister (Australia) Little Britton 6.

Holy Grail pony table C: Maddison Bult (Karaka) Mr Black Magic 1, Steffi Whittaker (Christchurch) Moonlight Glow 2, Shaun Fannin (Hastings) Ono 3, Shaun Fannin (Hastings) Sir Samson 4.

For more information, contact -
Diana Dobson
021 222 0145

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