It’s been a challenging cross country day for the Kiwis at the Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event but as the dust settles, Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding are at the front of CCI4* field.
Only half of the 24-strong card made it home and even then, there were penalties to be added and taken away after much deliberation by the ground jury – similar to the 2017 event.
Amanda had initially been given a 50 but eventually had it taken away to move her up the head of the field on 47.2 penalty points, 4.3 ahead of the second placed Hazel Shannon aboard Wiillingapark Clifford on 51.5. Hayley Frielick and Class Action LP are the next best of the Kiwis, sitting on 81.3 in fifth spot, with Jess Woods and Just de Manzana in 10th on 102.7 and Renee Faulkner aboard Rubinstar HH on 124.4.
It wasn’t so good for the rest of the New Zealand riders though with Donna Edwards-Smith retiring on both DSE Tangolooma and DSE Cluny along with Hayley aboard her second mount My Happiness. Bundy Philpott on Tresca NZPH and Emily Cammock on Shaw Lee were both eliminated. By all accounts Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country course caused plenty of carnage with just half of the field completing – four combinations retired on course, with eight eliminated, including Katie Taliana and Trevalgar II who were leading after the dressage.
No one was clear and inside time today, with just three going clear but picking up time penalties. Emily Gray and Jocular Vision moved from 24th to third with their efforts, adding just 9.6 time penalties to their score to finish the day on 67.3.
Amanda was ecstatic with the efforts of her little thoroughbred Just Kidding. “What I didn’t realise when I got home was that I was only the second to actually to get through the finish flags,” she said.
Most influential on the course was 9a, b and c but Amanda said there were 20s “all over the place”.
“It was not forgiving and you had to work hard. I am over the moon to get through the finish flags – it was not our prettiest round and not everything went to plan but we made it home. It was carnage out there. He is just such an honest little horse. I said yesterday that I didn’t care about the dressage because I knew it would be totally irrelevant. I didn’t think it would cause this much carnage but I knew it would be tough.”
Hayley was over the moon with Class Action LP’s efforts. “Totally ecstatic is an understatement! I am so proud of both horses. He was just phenomenal. I let him down not helping him out more at the coffin but he is so wonderfully honest and forgiving.” They added 20 jump faults and 18.8 time to sit on 81.3.
“My Happiness felt amazing and was eating the course up. He really feels like he has wings. We just didn’t quite get it right at the coffin which was a shame as he felt brilliant.” Hayley pulled the horse and says they’ll live to fight another day but “sadly not another four star”.
“He will likely retire from this level now. He’s been just amazing and doesn’t owe me anything. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse to partner with for the past eight years. He has taught me so much!”
Jess Woods was unlucky to have a 50 added retrospectively to her tally along with 16.8 time penalties however she couldn’t have been happier. “I am so happy with her,” said Jess. “Lexi tried her little heart out. She’s such a little champ.”
Renee was also “super happy”. “There were a few mistakes to learn from for next time but I am so lucky to sit on such a clever horse!”
Bundy Philpott was undoubtedly riding the round of the day until she and Tresca NZPH parted company three from home. I am gutted,” she said. “Everything worked so so well but I got the third last fence wrong and paid a big price.” Both horse and rider were fine after their tumble.
Emily said she felt Shaw Lee had been a bit flat today. “We had a 20 a the c of the corners at nine, then he just didn’t lock onto the skinny into the water and I rushed him to an option when I should have circled. Bugger. At least he had a nice run to there.”
Jock Paget, who is at Adelaide as the ESNZ high performance development coach, said while it had been a very tough day at the office for some, others had really shone through.
“Renee gave such a gutsy effort in her first 4*. She just got out there and did her thing. When it got tough, she got tougher! She had to dig deep a couple of time but it came naturally to her. She is a great one for the future.”
Jock felt for Jess having the 50 added but said the combination had been great in recent performances, and this was no different.
“Amanda – well, she’s a gun on her little horse,” he said. “She is very talented but she showed a lot of heart as well. It is one thing to show up at a 4* but another to take it on. It is great to see her get out there and rip into it.”
Bundy had been a real stand out for Jock. “Mike (Etherington-Smith) was probably pretty happy watching her go round as she was riding it like he wanted. I am just gutted for her. She did all the tough stuff and made it look like a 1*. It was wicked to watch her ride. Not many people can ride like that.”
The event culminates with the showjumping tomorrow (Sunday).
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The horse details:
Rubinstar HH – owned by Renee Faulkner
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger Family
Just de Manzana – owned by Simon Tainish
Shaw Lee – owned by Emily Cammock
Tresca NZPH – owned by Bundy Philpott
DSE Cluny – owned by Gaye McClunie
DSE Tangolooma – owned by Donna and Elise Edwards-Smith and Graham Smith
Class Action LP – owned by Hayley Frielick
My Happiness – owned by Hayley Frielick
Carbon – owned by WJ and EA Drayton and Lucy Turner
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ