Annabel Francis and La Quinara
WINNERS of the POLi Payments Premier League Series
WINNERS of the VDL and Equibreed Top Ranking Mare
Annabel Francis had a feeling this season would be a cracker, and today it all came to fruition at the Glistening Waters Series Finals Championship Show.
The 18-year-old from Taupo today added the POLi Payments Premier League Series to an already bulging trophy cabinet that also includes the POLi Payments FEI World Cup NZ Series, the FMG Young Rider Series and the VDL and Equibreed Top Ranking Mare award.
“I just had a feeling this would be my season,” she said. “It really has been a good season.”
She lined up in the Premier League with two – her imported bay mare La Quinara as well as her feisty grey Carado GHP however, the later picked up seven penalties in the opening round so didn’t come back for the second.
“He was a bit spooky and we had a bit of a miscommunication,” said Annabel. “It is a shame because he has been jumping so well. I thought he may have had it in the bag but it wasn’t to be and Queenie came through.”
Annabel knew she had to be double clear and either first or second to take the series. Coming into the grand final she was one and two with her mounts but had Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) poised to pounce.
“Queenie didn’t touch anything out there – I am really proud of her.” Both of Annabel’s horses are challenging rides, but the pint-sized pocket rocket says there is never any room for doubt.
“To win the series is important for me but also those in my team and around me,” said Annabel. She’s talking about her mum Debbie, sister Charlotte, coach Jeff McVean and groom Briar Sykes.
“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes and it helps that I have good horsepower too.”
The Premier League was a superb 12-strong field featuring most of New Zealand’s top riders. Twelve contested the opening round over a solid 1.5m-1.6m Gerrit Beker-designed track with seven on four faults or less coming back for the second round. Clear rounds came from Sophie Scott (Wellington) and Glenbrooke Rich as Roses, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard Windermere Cappuccino and Annabel.
The second round saw clears from Nicole White (Invercargill) on LC Samson and Logan Massie (Dannevirke) with Bravado Ego Z but both carried four faults from the opener. It came down to Tegan and Annabel who both kept clean slates, but Annabel’s 64.67-second time was just over three seconds faster than Tegan. Both women rode beautifully controlled and considered rounds. Nicole filled third spot with Logan fourth, Sophie fifth and Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) aboard Central Park in sixth.
POLi Payments Premier League Series: Annabel Francis (Taupo) La Quinara 153, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Windermere Cappuccino 138, 3 Annabel Francis (Taupo) Carado GHP 127, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) Cortaflex Grafitti MH 88, Kim Bird (Ashburton) Cera Cassina 77, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukaru) LT Holst Andrea 76
POLi Payments Premier League Series Grand Final Class: Annabel Francis (Taupo) La Quinara 1, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Windermere Cappuccino 2, Nicole White (Invercargill) LC Samson 3, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Bravado Ego Z 4, Sophie Scott (Wellington) Glenbrooke Rich as Roses 5, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Central Park 6.
For full series results, head to www.nzequestrian.org.nz
For full class results, head to www.main-events.com
By Diana Dobson
11 April 2021