Tegan Fitzsimon rides Campari in the World Cup Qualifier, Giltrap Audi World Cup Festival 2021, Woodhill Sands, Auckland, Sunday, January 17, 2021. Copyright: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

Owner Penny Tapley has shown she’s a bit of a dab hand at breeding . . . even if it was a little bit lucky. Campari, who is by Corofino II and out of a Littorio mare, was her first dabble into the world of breeding.

This season the somewhat quirky bay gelding was bolt-away winner in the ESNZ Eight-Year-Old Series.

In the hands of two-time FEI World Cup NZ Series winner Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Campari – or Alfie as he is known by his mates – made a brilliant debut at top level. Always the baby in the World Cup qualifiers, Alfie had four starts for a third at Feilding, fifth at Hawera and consistently in the top seven. He also won the FEI1* class at Gisborne.

The efforts of the warmblood sport horse, who won the Seven-Year-Old Series last year, have impressed both his owner and rider.

“However,” says Penny, “it is very much a surprise to us as he is not what we had planned to breed! We were looking to breed a young rider one for our girls. I bought a mare off Trade Me that I liked the sound of and away we went.”

Campari’s owner Penny Tapley (left) & rider Tegan Fitzsimon (right) with the Stewart Tucker Zedco Trophy at Glistening Waters Showjumping Championships 2021, Solway Showgrounds, Masterton, Saturday, April 10, 2021 Copyright Photo: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

She did do quite a bit of homework on the mare’s breeding and figured the offspring would be able to jump. “I thought Corofino II would be a nice cross. It was fun! So we bred Alfie and the girls went off to uni and we didn’t have a rider. Tegan had been coaching Florence so I knew how well she cared for her horses and the style she rode . . . it all fitted together nicely.”

Tegan started Alfie as a four-year-old with Florence stepping in for most of his five-year-old education and getting him started in competition life. “We put a lot of thought into developing him. He spent his young years on our farm on Banks Peninsula so had lots of time maturing on the hills. We used Steve Houston to start him and he then did a lot of hacking around our hills. Janelle Sangster-Ward did a lot of flat work with him so we really tried to develop him as correctly as we could and give him every opportunity.” He went back to Tegan at the end of his five-year-old season.

Even when he was young he caught the eye of many. “He was very uncoordinated but you could see his scope was there. A lot of people would say ‘wow’. He was not mature in the use of his body and can still be a bit distracted but he is getting there and I think it will probably be another year or two until we see his best.”

Penny says they go into each year with no expectations, and are just “along for the ride”, but Alfie has certainly earnt a place in her heart. “As nerve-wracking as it was to watch him go in his first World Cup it was just incredible to have him go clear in the first round. It was a ‘holy moly’ moment, ‘the horse can actually do it’.”

Tegan agrees that the horse has always been scopey. “He is quite unorthodox with how he goes but he tries so hard to be clean,” she said. “He has been very consistent and stepped up so well this season. I am really looking forward to next season when I can establish him more at that height.”

It is the third time Tegan has won the Eight-Year-Old Series and the third time in three years Tegan has brought a horse up to World Cup level from the age group classes, the others being Windermere Cappuccino and Double J Monarch.

“That is an exceptional track record for a rider,” says Penny, who is hoping she has some more exciting ones lined up for Tegan in the coming years. “Tegan is fantastic to work with and we always work closely together with the planning and decisions. She always has the horse’s best interest at heart. We are very fortunate to have her riding Alfie.”

Penny and her family have loved following the combination around the country over the past three seasons. “It has taken us to many new North Island areas and shows.”

For full results, head to www.main-events.com


By Diana Dobson
12 April 2021