Thirty-six top riders from both sides of the Tasman will be battling it out at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping for bragging rights and a solid prize purse in the inaugural Takapoto 1.4m Teams’ Championship. Included in the line-up are Olympians Clarke Johnstone and Maurice Beatson, former Australian senior champion Amber Fuller, Tokyo hopeful Tom McDermott, recent back-to-back winner of the FEI World Cup New Zealand Series Tegan Fitzsimon and Olympic Cup holder Emily Hayward.
Clarke Johnstone, New Zealand's best-placed eventer at the Rio Olympic Games, will compete for the Harrison Lane team in the inaugural Takapoto Teams’ Championship.
Photo credit Cheleken Photography
But it would be a brave person to pick a likely winner from the 12 teams in the two-round competition which will run on Friday (February 21) in the Bellevue Main Arena.
Takapoto principal Mitch Plaw introduced the competition on the back of the very successful Australian Teams’ League which was launched in September last year and follows a similar format to the Global Champions League.
Takapoto already has a team in the Hamish Douglass-driven Australian Teams’ League and Mitch has made no secret of his desire to see more trans-Tasman competition. “I am very keen to get more Australian competitors here (at Takapoto) to compete and create more competition,” he says. “It’s healthy for everyone.”
He’s hopeful Takapoto may even become an extension of the cash-rich Australian League. “I am very happy to support the Australian initiative and hope we can bring it to New Zealand properly.”
Each team in the New Zealand event has to have an under-25 rider who will be mentored by the other two in the corporate team. Businesses from both Australian and New Zealand have bought the naming rights to each team.
Takapoto show director Jaime Tiller says she has no doubt the winning team will need a triple clear to take the top honours. “It’s a great chance for our New Zealand riders to get used to the new (Olympic) format of three riders with no drop score,” she said.
The top six teams from the opening round will progress to the second where obstacles will be raised to new heights. “It is going to be a really exciting competition. We would love to have a New Zealand team fit into the Australian league and make it a real trans-Tasman battle.”
The winning team will pocket $18,000 with $12,000 for second and $12,000 for third. Prize money is paid out to sixth place.
The teams are – Takapoto NZ: Oliver Croucher, Annabel Francis, Paul Brett. Purepine: Sam Morrison, Amanda Madigan, Olivia Dalton. Chatham Park: Amelia Douglass, Kate Hinschen, Amber Fuller. Harrison Lane: Emelia Forsyth, Emily Hayward, Clarke Johnstone. iSpyHorses: Briar Burnett-Grant, Tegan Fitzsimon, Brooke Edgecombe. AJTL: Jessie Rice-Ward, Tom McDermott, James Arkins. One Black Horse: Melody Matheson, Nicola Hammond, Logan Massie. GPI Racing/Yandoo: Elliott Reeves, Jamie Winning-Kermond, Mel Blair. Backing Black: Ally Carson, Jeremy Whale, Samantha Matthews. IRT: Laura Hilhorst, William Willis, Maurice Beatson. Waikato Equine Vets: Drew Carson, Julie Davey, Robert Steele. Vosper Law: Rachel Malcolm, Lisa Cubitt, Laura Inkster.
WHAT: Takapoto Estate Show Jumping
WHEN: Week 1 – February 20-23, 2020, Week 2 – February 25 (training day)-March 1, 2020
WHERE: Takapoto Estate, 90 Finlay Road, Maungatautari, Waikato 3494
MORE INFO: www.takapotoestateshowjumping.co.nz