Matthew Grayling Wins Kihikihi World Cup Qualifier
Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Matthew Grayling on NRM Gordon won the New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup at Kihikihi for the third time in a row.
The pair had one rail down in the show-jumping but with two rails in hand their grip on the title was not seriously threatened. They finished on 64.1 penalty faults. Grayling was taking every opportunity to impress the NZ selectors in attendance at the event, that he and NRM Gordon are worthy of selection for the New Zealand Team at the World Equestrian Games in Germany in August this year. Their classy performance in all three phases of the event may well have enhanced their chance of selection. Grayling was delighted to have NRM Gordon performing so well, as was owner Steven Montgomery who was at the event to enjoy the success of his talented horse.
Second place getter was Kate Wood and Staccato also with one rail down finishing on 73.1 while Annabel Wigley and Black drum came up from 5th after cross country to jump fault free and finish on 76.3. Katharine Van Tuyl and Underhand rose from 5th to 4th on 78.7 after jumping clear in both cross country and show jumping phases.
Local rider Chelsey Hawthorn and Look at That dropped two rails and finished up in 5th place on 86.5 much to the disappointment of the crowd who had such high hopes for this combination after watching their stirling cross country round which had placed them in 3rd position the previous night.
Show jump Course Designer Trevor Gregory produced a true World Cup test which resulted in faults throughout the class but rode well all the same.
Among dignitaries attending the event were Justine Kidd, CEO of NZEF and Board Member Glenda Hughes. Both were particularly impressed with the facilities at the venue, the beautiful dressage arenas at the Kay property and the design and presentation of the cross country course. International Judge and former Australian Olympian Gillian Rolton was most impressed with all aspects of the event and was particularly impressed with the cross country course. She believed it was of true international level, was beautifully presented, technically very accurate, the going was great and it rode very well.
The Two Star Class was won by Kirsten Kelly on Sooty the Sweep with Lucy Jackson and Mystery Creek a close second and Andrea McFarlane and Spectacular Ways were only .6 faults behind in third place. This competition was so tight that only one rail separated the top seven riders. The International Judges for this class, Errol O'Brien and Ann Tylee both expressed pleasure at the standard of the dressage from the top ten in this competition and felt it was a good omen for the next World Cup at Kihikihi.
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