COVID may have had an impact on the Ashburton A&P Show but the 200-odd horses and riders who attended enjoyed “beautiful” tracks from Roger Laplanche and near perfect grounds.
Full time horsewoman Katie Meredith rode off with the win in the ESNZ Horse Grand Prix aboard Westgrove GNZ with the Gillies sisters from Timaru once again dualling it out for honours in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix.
Katie has had the 12-year-old Westgrove GNZ since he was three, producing him through the age groups including a fourth in the Seven-Year-Old of the Year. The horse is co-owned by Katie and Pauline and Barry Quigley. “We know each other very well,” says 27-year-old Katie. “He is slightly mad and most definitely runs our entire property . . . everything revolves around Baz but he is wonderful and we really love him!”
Their start at Ashburton was their first Grand Prix of the season. “I have kept Baz to keep my eye in and to give me confidence and he gives me lots of that. He has had a few injuries in the past so can’t jump Grand Prix every weekend. That was a nice first Grand Prix of the season for us.”
While they had rails in the opening round, they were clear in the second, with Molly Buist-Brown (Christchurch) and Vali second – Molly and Vali also won the FMG Young Rider class.
Katie trains with Jeff McVean but credits mum Meredith Barth with a lot. “I spend hours in the arena with the horses . . . she is hugely supportive and has to take much of the credit!”
She plans to keep working on the confidence for both him and her, and have plenty of fun along the way.
It was a Gillies-Moffatt affair in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix with Samantha Gillies bringing two through to the jump-off and her sister Emma one. In the end Samantha and Junior Disco won with a double clear in 46.35 seconds with Emma and Benrose Playtime also all clean in 48.28 and Samantha third with another double clear on St Merryn Guinness in 59.25 seconds. Molly Moffatt Christchurch) was fourth with Te Ngaio Raggamuffin and fifth on Tironui Fire Cracker.
ESNZ Horse Grand Prix (sponsored by Rainer Irrigation): Katie Meredith (Rangiora) Westgrove GNZ 1, Molly Buist-Brown (Christchurch) Vali 2.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix (sponsored by Paul Cunneen in Property Brokers Country): Samantha Gillies (Timaru) Junior Disco 1, Emma Gillies (Timaru) Benrose Playtime 2, Samantha Gillies (Timaru) St Merryn Guinness 3, Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) Te Ngaio Raggamuffin 4, Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) Tironui Fire Cracker 5.
Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) Glenmark 1, Samantha Gillies (Timaru) Socrates de la Vie 2, Anna Nalder (Canterbury) Icebreaker II 3, Meg Bisset (Blenheim) Bewitched NZPH 4, Madeline Woods (Christchurch) Playmaker 5, Noah Coutts (Christchurch) Extravaganza 6.
FMG Young Rider Series (sponsored by Lysaght Horse Coaches): Molly Buist-Brown (Christchurch) Vali 1, Grace Manera (Canterbury) Cazette HSH 2, Molly Buist-Brown (Canterbury) Mountain Eutopia 3, Rosa Buist-Brown (Christchurch) Bellick ST 4, Sophie Townsend (Christchurch) Kingslea Kiwi 5, Sarah Peterson (Rangiora) Dubai 2 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: David Hutton (Timaru) Rolux 1, Tamara Silcock (Nelson) TMS Vincenzo 2, Harriet Gardner (South Canterbury) PL Queen of Hearts 3, Genevieve Kirwan (Ashburton) Global PH Anna Leah 4, Lizzy Bell (Ashburton) Archie Amor 5, Jessica Brough (Christchurch) Bezazz NZPH 6.
By Diana Dobson
3 November 2020