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NZ competition season reopens…. At last!

Graffiti MH (Graf Top - Elodie x Earl) and rider Melody Matheson Land Rover Horse of the Year - Hawkes Bay 2020 Photos by Christine Cornege/ Cornege Photography

By Sally Reid
Photography: Cornege Photography

The New Zealand 2020-21 competition season is finally under way after a series of Covid-19 complications and cancellations. The first FEI-level competitions have now been held in eventing, jumping and dressage, to the delight of breeders, owners, and riders across the country. And, so far, Hanoverians have put themselves into the spotlight.

The first jumping Grand Prix took place at Feilding Spring Show in the lower North Island and saw a stunning victory for Graffiti MH. It was a small class – tiny, in fact – with only six horses in the running. However, all of them have fine international blood running through their veins, and have had GP wins or high placings.
Graffiti MH (Graf Top - Elodie x Earl) and rider Melody Matheson also won this class in 2018. With her good looks, huge amount of style, and presence, Graffiti is gorgeous – there’s no other way to describe her. She was bred by Judith Matthews of Matthews Hanoverians who part-owns her with Angela Miller of Hawke’s Bay. Her dam, Elodie (Earl -Whitsun x Weltmeyer), has been sold, but had a second daughter for Matthews before leaving the stud. This is Ballerina MH (Bonifatius), who also has three of daughters of her own, the eldest of which is Graffiti’s three-quarter sister, Graffiene MH (Graf Top), born in 2018.
A 2017 Ballerina daughter, Fendi MH (Fürstenball), was a ‘premium’ foal at the 2018 Hanoverian inspection tour under Volker Ehlers, and a 2019 daughter, Sapphire MH, is by the imported German-bred Oldenburg, Swarovski (Sandro Hit - StPrSt Herzdame x Don Gregory). Swarovski, a ‘main premium’ Oldenburger, stands at Renai Hart’s River Park Farm in Auckland. His progeny here are all still young, but look impressive. So, Graffiti MH has a very nice group of young female relatives waiting in the wings.
Graffiti herself, after some successful Level 2 dressage outings and a fourth in her only eventing start, won her first jumping competition – a five-year-old show-hunter class, which was also her first outing with Matheson. She had age-group showjumping wins at the ages of six and seven, including the seven-year-old Horse of the Year title in 2017. She was the only horse to jump fault-free in the Feilding competition... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

Second place went to Central Park (Euro Sport Centavos - Silk and Spice xx x Omnicorp xx), a nine-year-old gelding bred by Imogen Neale. He belongs to and is ridden by 67-year-old showjumping veteran Maurice Beatson, and has had a number of good results, particularly as a seven-year-old (2018-19). His dam, Silk and Spice xx, is a Hanoverian Studbook mare, and his sire, Euro Sport Centavos (Escudo I - St.Pr.Sr. Anabell x Argentius) is a Hanoverian bred in Germany by Heinz Schuette, from Stamm 4191603, Schridde 261. He was New Zealand’s 2015 Horse of the Year as well as the leading stallion, and had has proved to be a top sire of jumpers and eventers.
Third went to an 11-year-old German import, the Holsteiner mare LT Holst Bernadette (Askari - Tamara XVI x Casall), who was bred by Reimer-Detlef Hennings of Bendorf. Her dam, Tamara XVI is a Bezirksprämie mare from Stamm 4851. She belongs to her rider, Robert Steele, and was imported by LT Holst’s Ewen Mackintosh, as was the fourth place-getter at Feilding: the wonderful LT Holst Andrea (Casall Ask - Palaune x Lavaletto), who is the current NZ Horse of the Year.
Another by Euro Sport Centavos, WSH Centaur (ES Centavos - Santaurian xx x San Luis xx) was fifth for owner/rider Daniel Webb. He is a nine-year-old gelding bred by Emily Gray. The mare Gold Locks (Lansing - Goldilocks x Ironclad xx), bred, owned, and ridden by Maurice Beatson, was sixth. She, too, is by an imported German sire, the very influential Holsteiner Lansing (Landgraf I - Monoline x Roman), who stood at Golden Grove Stud from 2003 until his death at the age of 29 in 2015. He was from Holst Stamm 8777.

Three-star eventing

Three-star short-format competitions have already taken place in both islands: one at the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo (North Island), and one in Canterbury, down south. Thoroughbreds were dominant at both, which is common here, but didn’t have it all their own way.
The CNC3*-S in Canterbury was won by Shoot the Breeze xx (Sunray xx - Sea Nymph xx x Yachtie xx), who was bred by B. and M. Cooney, and is owned and ridden by Kirsty Sharapoff. The dam-sire Yachtie xx, who raced on the flat, left a number of progeny who could jump. Shoot the Breeze is a 14-year-old gelding, with a lot of good form at this level.
Second place went to Astek Victor (Voltaire II - On Song x Spectacular Love xx), bred by Sue Fowler at Astek Lodge. The 10-year-old Warmblood gelding is owned and ridden by Lucy Turner; the pair won the ESZN Young Rider Eventing Series in 2018/19 and have had both long- and short-format CCI3* wins. He is yet another example of the super progeny left by his sire, Voltaire II (Voltaire - Daydyne ster prest x Nimmerdor).
This outstanding KWPN stallion, initially named Kimbel, was bred in the Netherlands by H.J. van der Wal of Groningen, sold to Jan Greve of de Watermolen in 1992 as a foal, and imported to New Zealand as a two-year-old. In 2010, having stood only in this country, he was ranked eighth in the world for eventing by the WBFSH. He retired from breeding in 2016, and died the following year.
The Little Prince xx (His Royal Highness xx - Regal Mystery xx x Vice Regal xx) was third at the Canterbury event. He is a 13-year-old gelding bred by Richard Otto, owned by Merle Ogilvie and ridden, like the winning horse, by Kirsty Sharapoff.
Taupo hosted a CCI3*-S+, with jumping at four-star level, which provided a fairly serious challenge. The winner was Your Attorney xx (Legal Option xx - Polar Crown xx x Carry the Crown xx), a 16-year-old Thoroughbred who also won Puhinui 4*-S in March. He is owned and ridden by Diane Gilder, and was bred in Australia by Vantage Hill Bloodstock.
Rockin It xx (Traditionally xx - Tilja xx x Honour Grades xx) another 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, was second for owner/rider Abbey Thompson. He was bred by D. and I. Mackay.
Alto et Audax (Northwood Jet Stream - Croftlea Amazon xx x Zabalou xx), a 10-year-old New Zealand Sport Horse gelding bred by Imogen Neale and ridden by his owner, Beth Wilson, was third. This horse’s paternal grandsire is the wonderful IRD Coalman’s Touch (Touch of the Blues), who was bred in Wales by Roger Lightfoot. His maternal grandsire Zabalou (sometimes spelled Zabalu) is the son of Aberlou xx, one of the most revered Thoroughbreds in NZ eventing breeding. (Incidentally, Aberlou xx is the damsire of the horse who finished third in the CCI3*-S at Taupo – see below.)
It was a Hanoverian-Thoroughbred cross who claimed the win in the CCI3*-S at Taupo, and a New Zealand Stationbred who finished second. The winner was Anonymous (Anamour - Morning Star xx x Classic Fame xx), bred by Linda Hunt, owned by Raewyn Lawrence, and ridden by Abbey Lawrence. It’s rare to see competition results of any discipline in this country without the name of Anamour (Aalborg - Lucille x Lombard) among the place-getters’ pedigrees – as this article will show. And, although he was mostly noted for dressage progeny, he sired plenty of top eventers here, including Henton Attorney General who won Boekelo three-day event in 2013. Anamour was bred in Germany by Rudolf and Reinhard Bösch at Zuchthof Bosch; he was from Stamm 1189109, Schridde 439.
Second in the CCI3*-S went to Ngahiwi Lenny who was bred by the very successful Bruce Holden at Ngahiwi Station. Lenny’s sire and dam are unrecorded, which isn’t particularly strange for a Stationbred. He is a 17-year-old gelding, owned by Deidre Stirling and ridden by Savanna Stirling, as is the horse who came third, Drums ‘N’ Roses (Drums of Time xx - Aberrose x Aberlou xx).

From NZ to the UK

The nine-year-old Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ (Caretino - Quantum Flash xx x Tristaking xx), a Holsteiner-Thoroughbred cross, bred by Paul Ffoulkes at Goldengrove Stud in Christchurch, had a British Eventing OI win at Burgham and finished seventh in the CCI-S 4* at Burnham Market in September, ridden by Samantha Lissington who part-owns him with Pip McCarroll.
RR Sooty GNZ was 2019’s three-star Eventing Horse of the Year, and moved in that same year with Lissington to the UK, where she is now based.

Hanoverians dominate dressage

The few dressage competitions that have gone ahead during Covid restrictions revealed some interesting pedigrees in placings across the levels – and a predominance of Hanoverians.
In Rotorua, Vanessa Way’s very promising eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding Timbermill Prequel (Prestige VDL - Crystal x Dream Boy), bred by Kerry Sanders at Timbermill Sport Horses, won the Small Tour (FEI). His damsire, Dream Boy (Dream of Glory - Erntekrone x Eisenherz II), was a licensed Hanoverian from Stamm 1192208, Schridde 718, bred by Gustav Eylmann in Germany. The glamorous chestnut sired numerous winners here, many of them similar to him in looks; however, his grandson Prequel, while handsome, is not among that number as he’s a bay. He was the 2020 seven-year-old dressage Horse of the Year, and has begun his eight-year-old season in grand style.
A Hanoverian finished second in this class too: the 11-year-old mare Royal Dream (Royal Blend - Wild Dream x Worldwide PB) bred by the late Tracey Blackmore at CHS Hanoverians and owned and ridden by Haydee Wells-Parmenter. This lovely chestnut mare was 2019’s Level 4 Horse of the Year and has the blood of Rotspon, Rubinstein I, Weltmeyer, Brentano II and – yes, Anamour – in her very impressive pedigree.
Third place went to another Hanoverian mare with good bloodlines; the 12-year-old Parkridge Donnamour (Don Frederico - Parkridge Arita x Anamour). She was bred by Carol Eivers of Parkridge Stud and is owned by her rider Peter Barke and Debbie Barke. Note the Anamour connection...
Another wonderfully bred and well-performed Anamour flagbearer, the nine-year-old Rheinlander gelding Wisdom WDS (Whisper - Alessandra x Anamour) was an Advanced winner at Canterbury. He was Level 1 Champion in 2017, and Level 2 Champion in 2018, and is making his way impressively up the grades. Wisdom WDS was bred by Kieran Walton of Walton Dressage Stables, and his dam is a gorgeous-looking mare whose own mother is an Irish Sport Horse. His sire, Whisper (Weltmeyer - St.Pr.St. Feine Dame x Feiner Stern) was an exceptional talent and a licensed Hanoverian, also known as Weltstar 38. He was the first fully approved Weltmeyer son to stand in New Zealand, and made an invaluable contribution to the gene pool in his all-too-short life.
The Small Tour Prix St Georges in Canterbury was won by Beanie (Favoney - Jacobina x Ramirez), ridden by owner Corey Miln. This 12-year-old mare finished sixth in the Advanced title class at Horse of the Year 2020, and has had plenty of good results. Unfortunately, her breeding, apart from the magnificent KWPN Ramirez (Ramiro Z) is hard to trace, but she is listed as a Thoroughbred cross.
Hanoverians have had certainly had a flying start this season, and another – the elegant 12-year-old gelding Fernando MH (Fürst Jupp - Widia x Winterkoenig,) bred by Matthews Hanoverians, owned Robyn Archibald and Nicki Ford, and ridden by Nicki Ford, finished second in the Prix St Georges.
Another Hanoverian, making her first appearance at a show, had a very good preliminary win in Canterbury: the lovely five-year-old Dulcet (Dante Weltino - Farah x Fürst Romancier) whose performance scored 75%. She was bred by Janne and Georgia Worth, and is owned and ridden by Cherie Pearson. And, she wasn’t the only eye-catching Hanoverian youngster, as the six-year-old gelding Zodiac DW (Zonik - Ala Mode x Anamour) – note that damsire – had a good win at his first Level 3 start; he was bred by David Woolley, and is owned and ridden by Sophie Griffith.
Lastly, but far from least, was the magnificent debut of the four-year-old Rheinland gelding, Falcon O (Fürstenball -Vollrath Latika x Lessing), who scored a colossal 86%. He was bred by Dr Anne Stewart of Ohuatahi Warmbloods, and is a really exciting prospect for his owner/rider, Candice Nichol. He has a pedigree which includes Fürst Heinrich, Londonderry, Lauries Crusador and Donnerhall (twice). In his damline are two of New Zealand’s Hanoverian supersires, both German imports: the D-line Dynamit (Dynamo) and G-line Genius (Garibaldi).
Falcon O has a full sibling, Fürst Of All O, who was the top Rheinland foal of the 2018 Hanoverian/Rheinland inspection tour. He, too, was bred by Dr Anne Stewart at Ohuatahi Warmbloods.