By Sally Reid

Some beautifully-bred New Zealand Hanoverians, Warmbloods and sport horses made their mark at New Zealand’s Horse of the Year show, although two of the biggest titles were won by Thoroughbred geldings. Unsurprisingly, the most prominent breeding establishments were New Zealand Performance Horses and Matthews Hanoverians; Xtreme Sport Horses and Waitangi Sport Horses were two other studfarms with very good results.

One New Zealand-based stallion was particularly well represented among the winners: the licensed Holsteiner Cassiano (Cassini x Calypso II x Maestoso xx). Fürstenball, Untouchable M, and the NZ Sport Horse Double J Repicharge were also prominent and, of course, no equestrian event here would be complete without its share of successful Anamour progeny.
Paradise NZPH (Barbarian), a New Zealand Sport Horse bred by NZ Performance Horses, was the standout dam, with three high-achieving offspring.
The six-day show is the most significant event in New Zealand’s equestrian calendar, and almost marks the end of the competition season, attracting around 1,600 riders, many with multiple horses.

First winners – jumping

The show’s first class, the IRT 1m40, isn’t a title-decider, but it attracts top horses and warrants attention. It had (for this country) a huge field – 70 competitors – over a tough course designed by Germany’s Walter Deeg. Only seven qualified for the jump-off, among them the eventual winner of the Olympic Cup (see below), and the wonderful, overseas-bound Windermere Cappuccino (Corofino II).
The overall winner was Bandito NZPH (Consul de la Vie Z -– Manon des Souches x Arpege Pierreville), a very impressive eight-year-old New Zealand Sport Horse gelding who tackles every course with care and flair, and who closely resembles his famous sire. He was bred by New Zealand Performance Horses and is owned and ridden by the stud’s training manager, Canadian Alex Loiselle. Bandito’s dam is a French-bred Selle Français imported by NZPH.
In second place was an exciting nine-year-old mare by Pénélope Leprovost’s former jumping star, the fabulous Vagabond de la Pomme. The mare, Joligne de Carmel (Vagabond de la Pomme - PM van de Helle x Calando) is a Belgian Warmblood bred by Dirk Willaert and imported to New Zealand by Matilda Shotter-Davies. She is ridden by Julie Davey, and competed in Europe with Michelle Kenny (IRE) and David Murdoch (GB) before coming here.
In third place after a heroic effort against the clock was a part-bred Welsh Cob: Oporaes Jackamoe (Merry Derrakesh - Firedance x Slash) with Laura Inkster. The gelding only measures 155cms, but those little legs carried him around the track in a very sharp time and he finished with an unlucky four faults.
Fourth went to the excellent NZSH mare Double J Monarch (Double J Repicharge - Double J Remember Me x Double J Backchat) ridden by Tegan Fitzsimon, and fifth to Belischi HM xx: You’ll be reading more about this gelding in the coming paragraphs (see Olympic Cup below). The other two in the jump-off, the imported KWPN gelding Winston van Driene (Ovidius - Odette x Zeus) and Windermere Cappuccino (Corofino II) retired and withdrew, respectively.

Highly competitive Norwood Gold Cup

This class had fewer entries (26) but was highly competitive, as the cup is one of HOY’s most important trophies. The winner, after an 11-horse jump-off, was a beautiful grey New Zealand Sport Horse mare, Waitangi Surf (Cassiano - Whisper xx x Back Chat xx). She was bred by Waitangi Sport Horses, producer of many champion eventers and jumpers, and was ridden by Oliver Croucher, who says the 11-year-old has gone from strength to strength. Her sire Cassiano (Cassini - Zivia x Calypso II) is a licensed Holsteiner from Stamm 6691 and has the mighty Cor de la Bryeère on both sides of his pedigree. He was bred in Germany by Carsten Lauck and is currently showjumping here with Luke Dee for owner Sharlene Workman of Xtreme Sport Horses. Another of his progeny, Waitangi Pinterest, finished a super second in the four-star eventing horse of the year class (see below).
Ulysses NZPH (Cabdula du Tillard - Quiet Time NZPH x Twist Kerellec) was second for Lily Tootill – a formidable pair who have had multiple top-level wins, including the Olympic Cup in 2017.
Third and fourth went to two imported Holsteiners: The always-reliable mare LT Holst Andrea (Casall Ask - Palaune x Lavaletto) with Brooke Edgecombe, and Clarke Johnstone’s gelding Quainton Labyrinth (Lancelot Quainton - Carnaby x Carnaby GL).
Popeye (Cardento - Cufflink x Lio Caylon), who won the Norwood last year, was fifth for Tom Tarver-Priebe, and Veroana (Indoctro - Strawberry x Roman Off) sixth for Briar Burnett-Grant. These two horses were scorchingly fast in the jump-off, but each paid the price with a rail.

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