Eve Saint Laurant All Class at Poverty Bay A&P

By Diana Dobson

Lucy Olphert planned to give Eve Saint Laurent a “good and careful” ride in the horse grand prix at the Poverty Bay A&P Show in preparation for her first World Cup start next week.

Instead, the 29-year-old from Tauranga and her homebred mare came out and blitzed the field to take the win in the Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Horse Grand Prix at Gisborne.

It seems the stars aligned for their efforts on Saturday. Eve Saint Laurent almost didn’t get to come to Gisborne as she was a little under the weather at the beginning of the week. However, their first-ever grand prix win marks five years to the day since Olphert first sat on the horse.

Five of the eight starters came back for the jump-off in the big class of the show. Local Fraser Tombleson was first out with his homebred mare Mea I and looked for all money to be on track to set the benchmark for the rest of the field in their first-ever grand prix start.

However, mid-field they had trouble at a big spread and both stumbled and fell, meaning instant elimination.

Olphert and Eve Saint Laurent were next out and gave a masterclass in coolness. While they nudged a couple of rails very gently, everything stayed in place and they stopped the clock at 45.44 seconds.

Another Gisborne rider, Tess Clark and her big flea-bitten grey Sinatra II had problems at the same fence as Tombleson and retired shortly after.

Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) and McMillans Fredrika RE were careful heading into the bogey fence, coming wide where others had cut inside. It paid dividends and she was clear in 47.69 seconds to take second place.

Daniel Blundell (Auckland) and Levado had a little disagreement at the bogey fence, but survived only to drop a rail at the last, to finish on four faults in 44 seconds for third.

In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix, Olivia Dalton (Coatesville) and Simply Samantha HH headed home a small but quality field to take the honours.

It seems a gorgeous bright pink riding jacket – an early birthday present from mum Nicki – could be her good luck charm.

“It is so exciting to win this,” said Dalton. “She just jumped so well out there. I am very glad we came to Gisborne for the show. It’s amazing to win – it is very early in the season and this is a good start to it all.”

The combination has been placed in each of their three grand prix starts so far this season.

She had plenty of praise for the Roger Laplanche-designed course.

“The jump-off was particularly well laid out and he gave us a lot of opportunities to take inside turns.”

Dalton and Samantha fairly flew into the last at a good gallop.

“I was very happy when I looked at the course and saw that oxer (at the end) and knew we could really gallop into it. Everything went as I planned, which is a bonus because that doesn’t always happen!”

The long trek from Auckland to Gisborne was worth it for Vicki Ridley and Olivia Dalton who were first and second in the NZL FEI World Jumping Challenge.

The global competition sees riders jumping a course designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA) and the results tallied to find the best for the world final. The competition is also a qualifier for the 2018 Youth Olympics.

Sixteen combinations started the two round category A competition, with five clear in the first round, and two sitting on a single time fault. The second round sorted the field, and there were just two double clears – Ridley aboard Mosaic II in 60.21 seconds and Dalton on the imported Bling du Rouet in 60.23 seconds.

Ridley was rapt with the win.

“It was a nice tight course out there and the footing is just beautiful” she said.

Ridley usually competes in the pro-amateur series but opted for the world challenge instead.

“I knew I had to be clear and fast in that second round.”

It is Dalton’s first time to Gisborne and she came specifically for the World Challenge, with the Youth Olympics very much in her mind.

“I really want to go to the Youth Olympics,” says the 15-year-old who earned her Certificate of Capability with her efforts yesterday.

Dalton imported Bling as an eight-year-old stallion but they gelded him almost immediately, despite his lovely nature.

“He is a real smoocher though,”she says of the nine-year-old sportaloosa warmblood.

The category B competition was won by Rebecca Porter (Hastings) and her 21-year-old horse Mr Harrison.

“He just loves it,”she said. “We cut some corners and he has quite a long stride so covers the ground well. He’s a real dude. He’ll let us know when it is time for him to retire . . . but it isn’t just yet.”


Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Horse Grand Prix: Lucy Olphert (Tauranga) Eve Saint Laurent 1; Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) McMillans Fredrika RE 2; Daniel Blundell (Auckland) Lavello 3; Fraser Tombleson, Mea I 4; Tess Clark, Sinatra II 5; Geordie Bull (Taupo) Forest Hill 6.

Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Olivia Dalton (Coatesville) Simply Samantha HH 1; Isabella Narracci (Havelock North) Pintara Park Jack Frost 2; Brett Horsburgh (Cambridge) Showtym Endeavour 3; Ruby Mason (Napier) Mr Acho 4; Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 5; Phoebe Burns (Hastings) Galaxy Masterpiece 6.

NZL FEI World Jumping Challenge, Category B: Rebecca Porter (Napier) Mr Harrison 1; Danielle Maurer (Auckland) Henton Exchequer 2; Deanna Horsburgh (Cambridge) Smoken Up 3; Rosie Bates (Napier) Vapour Trail NZPH 4; Lucy Olphert (Tauranga) Illusion SSH 5; Karen Riddle (Rotorua) LC Unforgettable 6.

NZL FEI World Jumping Challenge, Category A: Vicki Ridley (Karaka) Mosaic II 1; Olivia Dalton (Coatesville) Bling du Rouet 2; Sinead Dolman, Kiwi Lansing 3; Karen Riddle (Rotorua) LC Telepathy 4; Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 5, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) Gin 6.

Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Pro Amateur Series: Tom Tarver (Kawerau) Baloubly du Busson 1; Lucia Voss (Kawerau) Popeye 2; Karen Riddle (Rotorua) LC Talent 3; Rebecca Porter (Napier) Kiwi Jet 4; Tracy Mason (Napier) WP Stella 5; Anna Parsons (Takapau) Arrhythmic NZPH 6.

Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider Series: Caroline Richardson (Wairoa) Kiwi Corona 1; Shelagh Nolan, Ngahiwi Eyeza Blue 2; Caroline Sutherland (Whakatane) Letty 3; Sofie Dever (Hawke’s Bay) Two Face 4; Lisa Walker, Miss Serendipity 5; Holly Baines, Pre Mo 6.

FMG Young Rider Series: Leeshelle Small (Auckland) Pasir Ris 88 1; Mikayla Herbert (Rotorua) Snow Storm 2; Sinead Dolman, Floriant DHU 3; Ruby Mason (Napier) Astek Napoleon 4; Elise Stables (Hamilton) SE Rumour Has It 5.

Dunstan Horsefeeds and Equifibre Junior Rider Series: Sinead Dolman, Kiwi Lansing 1; Rosie Bates (Napier) Vapour Trail NZPH 2; Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) Gin 3; Sarah McKinnon (Wairoa) Matilda II 4; Molly Goodisson (Havelock North) Darkages 5; Deanna Horsburgh (Cambridge) Ngahiwi Possum 6.

Purepine Shavings Seven-Year-Old Series: Tracy Mason (Napier) WP Stella 1; Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Mr Muscles 2; Samantha Peters (Whangarei) Woodbine Orlando 3; Fraser Tombleson, Kiwi Coronation 4.

Mitavite Six-Year-Old Series: Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) McMillans Whimsical WDS and Samantha Peters (Whangarei) Cadillac NZPH =1.

East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Anna Rasmussen (Hastings) Expozay 1.