Tegan Fitzsimon is the rider all the POLi Payments FEI World Cup competitors are chasing, after posting her third win from four qualifiers in the penultimate round of the New Zealand league.
Today’s victory, at the Metalform Central and Southern Hawke’s Bay Showjumping Show in Dannevirke, sees her head to the series later this month in a commanding position on the leaderboard.
Eleven lined up today to be challenged by both course designer Roger Laplanche and very gusty wind conditions. Just four were clear and inside time in the opening round – Tegan, Phillip Steiner (Tauranga) aboard Cassina Dior, two-time final winner and Olympic Cup holder Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) with LT Holst Andrea and veteran Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) on Central Park.
In the second, Tegan aboard Windermere Cappuccino and Phillip with Cassina Dior were the only ones to keep their slates perfectly clean, however, clears also came from Logan Massie (Dannevirke) with Bravado Ego Z and World Cup debutant Jeremy Whale (Hampton Downs) with Idol D, both of whom were carrying faults from the first round.
Tegan was ecstatic with her beloved bay gelding. “He was so good out there,” said the West Melton rider who has twice won the World Cup series. “The course rode really well and was very nice. It was big enough but everyone’s horses jumped well.”
Windermere Cappuccino was quite strong for his rider in the first round but settled a little for the second. “He was very energetic and keen to be back out in the ring after a bit of a break. That is good, but it did make life a bit challenging. He jumped fantastic though and felt really good.”
The South Islanders, who base in the north for seven months of the year, were last to go in the second round. “He has been naturally quick this season so I thought if I keep things rolling along and fairly tight, we should be ok.”
She was particularly happy to notch another double clear. “He’s been a lot more consistent in clocking up the double clears this season. It’s nice to see him jumping so well after Hawke’s Bay where he struggled in those (very wet and boggy) conditions. It’s great to have him back on track.”
Phillip and Cassina Dior placed second with their double clear in 63.74-second effort, a little behind Tegan’s 57.29, with Brooke in third place, finishing on four faults after an unlucky rail at the last of the second round.