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There's plenty to ride for at NZ World Cup Final

Melody Matheson on Ngahiwi Cisco leap the water in the Young Rider Rnd 2_watermarked

Melody Matheson, pictured here on Ngahiwi Cisco at a previous event.

© Michelle Terlato

 

It’s the weekend many of the nation’s top showjumpers have been waiting for... the final of the Bayley’s Real Estate FEI World Cup New Zealand League!

Eleven well-performed combinations will compete on Sunday afternoon at the Continental Cars Audi World Cup Festival at Woodhill Sands in Auckland, chasing both bragging rights and the chance to represent their nation at the world final in France.

With points-and-a-half up for grabs and the complication of just riders’ best four scores to count, it would be a brave person to pick a series winner before the final fence is jumped.

Series leader Rose Alfeld (Leeston) has clocked up some serious miles as she has chased points, with two trips to the North Island. She sits on 74 points, with a nine point buffer back to the second-placed Samantha Morrison (Tauranga). It’s mighty tight in the minors, with Melody Matheson (Havelock North) just a point adrift of Morrison and Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) another point back.
Alfeld will be aboard her 12-year-old Holstein cross My Super Nova and they head to the final in good spirits.

“He is feeling great and I am looking forward to the final,” said Alfeld. “I am trying not to let the added pressure of sitting on top of the leaderboard get to me and just want to go out and do our best.”

Regardless of how they go, she’s a content competitor.

“I’ll be happy with him no matter what happens because he has already exceeded all my expectations for the season.”

Morrison is hoping her World Cup season will finish with a bang aboard her 12-year-old Selle Francais. Matheson is also looking for a good final aboard Graffiti MH, with Hayward keen to finish the series on a high.

Hayward would dearly love to place in the final and a top three in the series would be a dream come true.

“But I am well aware of the stiff competition I will be up against, so will be happy with whatever the outcome.”

Included in that line-up are Olympians Katie Laurie (Mystery Creek) and Clarke Johnstone (Matangi).
Laurie is a six-time winner of the series and boasts New Zealand’s best ever result at a World Cup Final with her sixth equal placing in Leipzig, Germany, in 2011.

She is flying in from her base in Australia especially for the final to compete aboard the well-performed mare Breeze, but her preparation has been a little unusual.

“I am flying in and meeting my horse at the show.”

Her mum Vicki McVean has been riding the horse, along with good mate Tash Brooks.

“It is not ideal not being able to jump her before the show but I am really busy in Australia preparing my horses for a big 2018,” said Laurie.

While she can win the final, she cannot win the series as she is also competing in the Australian league.

Johnstone, New Zealand’s best performed eventer from the Rio Olympic Games, will compete aboard Quainton Labyrinth.

“He is feeling really good and jumping nicely at home, so I am hoping for a good result.”

Young gun Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) is right in the mix with her roan Fiber Fresh Veroana. The 17-year-old is only just allowed to compete in the series and made quite a statement when she won her first start last weekend.

Also on the card are Tess Clark (Gisborne) aboard Sinatra II, Brit-turned-Kiwi Helen McNaught (Taupo) and her relatively new horse Ngahiwi Ned Kelly, Lucy Olphert (Tauranga) on Eve Saint Laurent, and Logan Massie (Dannevirke) with Intellect.

Gerrit Beker (Tauranga) will design the courses at the show.

The World Cup is the highest-ranked series run in New Zealand and always attracts the cream of the crop with the overall winner having the opportunity to represent the country at the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Paris later this year.
 
Bayley’s Real Estate FEI World Cup NZ League Leaderboard (after six rounds – best four to count): Rose Alfeld (Leeston) 74 points 1, Samantha Morrison (Tauranga) 63 2, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) 62 3, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) 61 4, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau), Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 55 =5, Robert Steele (Dannevirke) 47 7, Tess Clark (Gisborne) 45 8, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) 209 9, Lucy Fell (Longburn) 19 10.

Source: Press release

 

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