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Young talents showcased at NZ national SJ championships

Matai Zarité (Euro Sport Centavos), 7yo champion ridden by Tristan Thomas

By Sally Reid
Photography: Cornege Photography

The National Young Horse Jumping Championships is almost certainly the most important showcase of up-and-coming equine talent in New Zealand. It’s held each December in Hastings, with competitions for four- to seven-year-olds over three tough days.

There is serious international blood in the pedigrees of these youngsters, and many of the past winners have gone on to big careers. They include the international five-star jumpers Casebrooke Lomond, Delphi (who finished sixth at the 2011 World Cup Final in Leipzig), and Popeye who is showing super form in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment. This year’s rising stars were as impressive as ever, and three of the four titles were won by mares.

Matai Zarité: a 7yo stand-out

The very stylish and beautiful mare, Matai Zarité (Euro Sport Centavos - Matai Perigee Moon x Corofino II), was the show’s champion seven-year-old, living up to her terrific international jumping pedigree. Matai Zarité was bred by Carin de Groot of Matai Warmbloods, and is owned and ridden by Tristan Thomas. She has the blood of two of New Zealand’s most influential jumping stallions, both imported from Germany. Her sire, the Hanoverian ES Centavos (Escudo I x Argentinus x Bariton), was the show’s leading stallion (details below) this year, for the third time. Her damsire, the Holsteiner Corofino II (Corrado I - St.Pr.St. Valeska IV x Fernando I), who died in 2022, won the ESNZ leading stallion title several times; both stallions have sired a huge list of winners. Corofino II was bred in Germany by –Hobe Bernhard. His StPrSt dam, Valeska IV (Fernando - St.Pr.St. Option x Lord), is from the renowned Stamm 318d2 with its many licensed stallions.
“I am super-proud of Matai Zarité,” says Carin de Groot. “The Thomas family bought her as a yearling and have done such a great job with her. She couldn’t have ended up with a nicer family. I bred Zarité’s mum, Matai Perigee Moon, as well; she was out of my foundation Ngamatea mare ‘Lill’/aka Fleur de Lis (Wondaree - Lindy x Like a Stag).” The Ngamatea horses were bred by the late Margaret Apatu on a famous sheep station of the same name in Hawke’s Bay.
“Moon was injured as a two-year-old; a serious injury which destined her to be a broodmare. She is sound but has horrible scars. She did get broken in as a five-year-old but hasn’t done any more than just hacking. Zarité was her first foal. Her second is only two years old now: a gelding by Ballineen Blue Mountain, a purebred Irish Draught stallion... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber