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NZ South Island hosts jumping’s ‘year of the mares’

Rutherford Cup winner Cera Cassina (Cassini II - Caletta x Caletto I) ridden by Kimberley Bird

By Sally Reid
Photography: Pegasus Communications, Goldengrove Stud

The North and South Islands of New Zealand are not a million kilometres apart. However, crossing Cook Strait, the body of water which separates them, does make the journey expensive and time-consuming. So, with most competitions held in the North Island, where the majority of riders are based, few venture south.

For this reason, the National Show Jumping Championships, which are held down south in Christchurch, often fail to attract their fair share of top entries. This year, though, a good number – including a very strong Takapoto team – made the journey, and for the first time since 2016, the Rutherford Cup was contested.

Rutherford Cup

This is the show’s top prize, awarded to the winner of the National Premier Championship, a competition that takes place over three days. Victory went to an ‘extremely opinionated, but delightful’ 11-year-old Australian import, the grey Holsteiner mare Cera Cassina (Cassini II - Caletta x Caletto I), who was bred by Kerri Parker at Cera Performance Horses, and is owned and ridden by Kimberley Bird – who is a South Islander. It’s the first national title for both horse and rider. Cera Cassina is from Stamm 7126 and has shown plenty of good form during her career, including wins in a World Cup round and a very competitive Premier League class at Takapoto last season. She also finished third in the prestigious Norwood Gold Cup at HOY 2020 against a top field.
Her German-bred dam, Caletta (Caletto I - Zanda x Calpyso II) is from the notable sporting ranks of Stamm 7126, and the immediate family is worthy of attention. Caletta’s full sister Clear Round jumped at international levels for Italy; another full sister, Frieda, produced some very good progeny in the Netherlands. These include a Carolus daughter May-Flower (prest pref keur), the dam of 1m60 jumpers Rockella S and Vrieda Imperio Egipcio x Vrieda O (Hold Up Premier). Another of Caletta’s sisters, Akita Z, produced Queen Z who jumped in Nations’ Cups with Rodrigo Pessoa. Their maternal grandmother, Kerlis, is a half-sister to Ribecka (Calypso I), the dam of Acord II.
The reserve champion in the Rutherford Cup was another imported 11-year-old mare, Takapoto Alaid de Chez Nous (Organo Sitte - Ondine de Grozieux TF x Biesolo TF), a Selle Français. She was bred in France by Bernard Sainsardos, who competed her in Europe before her sale to Takapoto, one of New Zealand’s leading competition yards. Like Cera Cassina, she has won World Cup (NZL) class. Her breeding is pure French Trotter on the dam’s side and a mix of Warmblood (SF - Organo Sitte; BWP - Darco; Hanoverian - Lugano van la Roche and KWPN - Avontuur) through her sire. She is ridden by Samantha McIntosh and missed out on the win by a tiny fraction of a penalty (0.2)... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber