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Who is it going to be? Close at the top of NZ WC standings

Central Park ridden by Maurice Beatson

By Sally Reid
Photography: Imogen Neale and Cornege Photography

By this time next month, the winner of New Zealand’s highest-ranked jumping competition, the FEI World Cup, will have been decided. Most, if not all, Kiwi riders compete in the series on a single horse, and with just one round left to go, scores are tight at the top of the standings.

So – barring a catastrophe – it’s possible to name the top two placegetters, though not the order in which they’ll finish. Interestingly, both were bred by women who consider themselves to be on the small side of the breeding business; actually, one of these women even hesitates to call herself a breeder. But wait… there’s more. It’s not just two horses who are battling it out: a third World Cup contender is still in with a chance. She was bred in Germany and is the reigning NZ Horse of the Year, so let’s take a look at the top three.

Hello, Dolly

At the moment, the leader is Cassina Dior (Diarado -Prinzess VI/Cassina van de Helle, Bezirksprämie x Cassini I), a 10-year-old New Zealand-bred mare with impressive international parentage who, at home, is known as ‘Dolly’.
Cassina Dior is from Holst Stamm 2543 (Thiedemann) and was bred, with a top-level jumping career in mind, by Pip McCarroll. She is owned and ridden by Phillip Steiner, the person McCarroll had ear-marked early on to take the reins of her super-special girl. “I imported her dam, Prinzess VI, from Germany with the intention of adding some serious breeding to the showjumping dam lines in New Zealand. This was my brief to the two agents who found her for me,” says McCarroll. “I bought her through Horse Talents in Germany and a New Zealand breeder/agent, Jenny McIntyre. She was never competed,as her family was already well proven, and she had shown that she could produce some serious quality progeny.”
Prinzess VI/Cassina van de Helle was bred by Dörte Thiedemann. Her other offspring include the BWP stallion Emir van de Helle (Caesar van de Helle) who is jumping at 1m50 in the USA, and the Bezirksprämie mare Alexa III, whose own daughter Saratoga (Chin Champ) is the same age as Cassina Dior and is also jumping in World Cup competitions ridden by American Alise Oken. Prinzess herself is the full sister of Loreana II, who was bred by Klaus Thiedemann. This excellent mare won international Grands Prix in Kiel, Dortmund, Mannheim, Münster, and Vigo, and World qualifiers in Bordeaux, Verona and Amsterdam with Lars Nieberg.
According to McCarroll, “Prinzess came to New Zealand in foal to Diarado. The colt she had was small and feisty. He was briefly with a rider here and was then gelded and sold to Australia, where he has had some success.” Under the name Dinero, he is with a young rider, Jessie Rice-Ward who describes him as her ‘real-life unicorn’, and ‘dream pony’. He has had wins and high placings in a variety of competitions, including 1m30 classes.
“I was lucky enough to breed Prinzess to Diarado again,” says McCarroll. “I ear-marked Phillip Steiner as an owner and rider for this foal – Cassina Dior – as he had had experience riding significantly well-bred horses and would, as a friend, ‘include me as a VIP when jumping her under the Eiffel Tower’. Those were my exact words – and now she could be in Paris for the Olympics. I am super-excited to see them grow more as a team.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber