NEW ZEALAND (by Sally Reid) With NZ Horse of the Year, the country’s most important show, just around the corner, competition is fierce at jumping’s highest levels. Two major series are held over the summer season in the southern hemisphere: the elite Premier League (incorporating the FEI World Cup) and the Grand Prix Series. Some interesting horses are among the top six on both leaderboards at present.

The Grand Prix series looks particularly good for Wendy and Robyn Jacobs’ Double J Sport Horses and their only stallion, Double J Repi- charge, and for Ewen Mack- intosh’s LT Holsteiners.

Grand Prix Series

Mackintosh has two terrific young German imports in the top six: LT Holst Bernadette (Askari - Tamara XVI x Casall) bred by Reimer and Detlef Hen- nings of Bendorf, and LT Holst Andrea (Casall - Palaune x Lavaletto) bred by Hans-Joachim Gerken of Hammoor. Andrea’s dam Palaune (Lavaletto - El- raune x Silvester) is a half- sister of the good jumper Cattani (Corrado I), and Andrea herself has been placed in every Grand Prix she’s entered this season.

Mackintosh roars with laughter when asked how much research he put into the mares’ bloodlines before buying them. “A European dealer I know quite well rang and said he had two young horses. I rang him back about two months later and said ‘are those horses still there?’”

LT Holst Andrea arrived in New Zealand in foal to Quinton I (Quinar - Lara Sofia x Cathargo) and the resulting baby is a real beauty who is already winning. Her name is LT Holst Elizabeth; she has been lightly competed in the five- year-old series and has had three wins in this (two of them first-equals). She also won the five-year-old show hunter championship at the Young Horse Show in Hastings.

Certain to give the LT Hol- steiner brand an even big- ger boost is the fact that two embr yos from Elizabeth – one by the Olympic winner Big Star (Quick Star - Jolanda x Nimmerdor) and the other by preferent sire VDL Harley (Heartbreaker - Larthago x Carthago) – are being carried at the mo- ment. Watch this space!

As for Double J Stables, their horses can’t seem to put a hoof wrong this sea- son; they are popping up on prize lists all around the country, as well as featuring prominently in the age- group classes. Perhaps the most successful of them all is young Harry Feast’s ex- cellent nine-year-old gelding, Double J Bouncer (Double J Repicharge - JJ Chatalaine xx x Backchat xx). He is now a long way ahead in the Grand Prix series, with 62 points, and was the winner of the seven- year-old title in 2015-16.

Feast and Bouncer recently won the Canterbur y Grand Prix Series, as well as the South Island Series, and are heading north to Horse of the Year, where Harry has entered the gelding in several major classes, and will also decide whether to tackle the Olympic Cup.

It’s worth noting that a full brother to Bouncer, Double J Barman, is currently seventh in the influential six- year-old age-group series, and has just won the South Island six-year-old championship. Like his brother, he is ridden by Feast, but actually belongs to Feast’s sister.

The Feasts are a South Island family, and Barman’s position among the six-year-olds would probably be a lot higher if he were competing regularly on the North Island circuit, which is much busier. He will be heading north for Horse of the Year, though, and will be a serious threat in his age group.

Second in the Grand Prix series on 48 points is the 10- year-old NZ Warmblood mare, Fredrika RE (Voltaire II - Morning Star x Genius), bred by Royston Equine. She is owned by Claire and Simon Wilson, and normally ridden by Claire, but was competed by Simon while Claire recovered from a broken leg. Fredrika’s dam is beautifully bred, with Genius (Garibaldi - Dream x Discus) and Aberlou xx bloodlines. Aberlou is an equine legend out here; the sire of many eventing and jumping champions...

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