The cheers around the showgrounds said it all as Oliver Croucher bagged his first-ever big win at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show and it just happened to be one of the most historic and very special classes of the event.
Ollie and his feisty Waitangi Surf this evening blitzed a very classy field to win the Norwood Gold Cup. “It feels absolutely amazing,” said the 20-year-old Takapoto Equestrian rider. “I was just not expecting that. The horse just jumped insane out there. She has gone from strength to strength and she just tries her heart out every time she gets in the ring.”
Ollie said he was just aiming to leave all the rails up and knew with her speed and ability, they would be fine. He was full of praise for the grey mare saying she had gotten them both out of trouble a few times during the jump-off.
They would next start in the Young Rider and then the Premier Stakes. The Olympic Cup would be a possibility next year.
Twenty-two started the Werner Deeg (Ger) designed course with 10 combinations coming back for the second round – six on zero faults and four carrying four faults. Clears were a little more forthcoming in the second round but it was those with clean slates who really put the pressure on each other. The top four were all double clear, with Ollie stopping the clock at 53.56 seconds, runner-up Lily Tootill (Karaka) and Ulysses NZPH coming home in 55.14 seconds, third placed Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and LT Holst Andrea in 55.35 and Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) aboard Quainton Labyrinth crossing the flags in 55.72 seconds.
Last year’s winner Tom Tarver (Kawerau) and Equifibre Popeye had an early rail in the second round to finish with four faults but the fastest time of 49.93 seconds and in fifth place. Olympic Cup holder Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) and Fiber Fresh Veroana looked to have the class won but dropped the last to round out the top six with four faults in a time of 51.45 seconds.
In the Pryde’s EasiFeed Six-Year-Old of the Year, 13 of the original 34 starters came back for the jump-off where seven combinations still kept their slates clean. Logan Massie (Dannevirke) and Double J Kelvin were the victors with their super speedy 43.91 second time, with Lily Tootill (Karaka) and Domino NZPH second in 46.97 seconds.
Dana Sutton went for the careful clear in the jump-off of the Wade Equine Coaches Amateur Rider of the Year class. Just six of the 29 starters came back for the jump-off with Dana and Down Wind the only combination to leave everything in place.
Norwood Gold Cup: Oliver Croucher (Cambridge) Waitangi Surf 1, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Ulysses NZPH 2, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) LT Holst Andrea 3, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Quainton Labyrinth 4, Tom Tarver (Kawerau) Equifibre Popeye 5, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Fiber Fresh Veroana 6.
Wade Equine Coaches Amateur Rider of the Year (part of the Hinterland Amateur Rider Series): Dana Sutton (Palmerston North) Down Wind 1, Kady Prujean (Waiuku) VPS Call Me Cash 2, Lisa Davidson (Masterton) London Porter 3, Graeme Isaacson (Central Hawke’s Bay) Pokere 4, Jessica Trow (Whitford) Jack Flash II 5, Jayne Beattie (Otago ) Astek Reveal 6.
Pryde’s EasiFeed Six-Year-Old of the Year (part of the Mitavite Speedi-beet Six-Year-Old Series): Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Double J Kelvin 1, Lily Tootill (Karaka) Domino NZPH 2, Vicki Wilson (Hawke’s Bay) Daminos TWS 3, Kim Best (Hastings) LT Holst Teacher’s Pet 4, Alex Loiselle (Ocean Beach) Da Vinci NZPH 5, Becky Harkerss (Christchurch) Kettle GNZ 6.
For full results, head to www.equestrianentries.co.nz
By Diana Dobson, 13 March 2019