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Katie does it again

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It's fitting that if anyone was to beat Sir Mark Todd in the BetaVet NZ Speed Championship at the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings today, it would be Katie McVean.

The 26-year-old from Mystery Creek rode another superstar round to take the class aboard the lovely big grey, stopping the clock at 61.11 seconds, and was also third aboard Dunstan Zehrenland in 66.15.

Aussie young gun Tom McDermott was second on Quickstep NZPH in 63.39 in the class where rails are converted into time.

The class, that usually attracts 25-or-so entries, attracted 51 combinations and had to be broken into two sections.

Sir Mark's catch ride, seven-year-old Shakespeare NZPH, loaned by Bridget Hansen (Ocean Beach) had earlier finished second in the Young Rider of the Year and was a key member of the New Zealand team to beat the Australians in the Young Rider test series.

“I didn't want to come out and make a complete fool of myself,” said Sir Mark.

He needn't have worried though, as they finished on a very respectable 72.83 seconds, just outside of the top 10.

At a press conference later, Sir Mark said he had last competed in a showjumping round in the 1990s.

“They're always good fun though.”

He thoroughly enjoyed his time at the show, but admitted to being more nervous before his round than before he headed out at Badminton International Horse Trials – which he has won four times.

“It has been amazing here – the reception far outweighed anything I expected. It stated with the powhiri at the airport and hasn't stopped for four days.”

While here he also competed in a show hunter class aboard “old mate” Merran Hain's horse Untouchable.

Sir Mark had a good look at the Bell Tea three star eventing cross country course at the Equestrian Park yesterday (Saturday) and had nothing but praise for designer John Nicholson.

“He is as good as anyone in the world at the moment and very innovative.”

Sir Mark flies back to the UK this evening and on landing will head straight to France for an event.

He picks NZB Campino as his best chance at Badminton, which is just over a month away.

Sir Mark says he would love to come back to a show that continues to gain momentum and grow in professionalism – if he was invited.

“This is a show that creates a fantastic atmosphere – it's an impressive event.”

Results -
BetaVet NZ Speed Championship: Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Zasjany D 61.11 1, Tom McDermott (Australia) Quickstep NZPH 63.39 2, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Zehrenland 66.15 3, Nicole White (Invercargill) Cricklewood Ace 67.29 4, Logan Massie (Dannnevirke) Double J Angelique 68.83 5, Vicki Wilson (Hikurangi) Wurlitzer 69.34 6.

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