Arriving at Victoria Park racecourse for the first horse inspection, a dismal day weather wise, looking across the runway I noted the absence of event director Gill Rolton. It seemed to set the scene for the event.
New addition to the Sit Tight Radio team, Farlie Taylor took up the microphone for the trot up and dressage days, it was a pleasure to work with Farlie, I hope she forgives all our craziness and comes on board for future Adelaide International 3DE’s.
Wednesday afternoon trot up saw all the girls planning for the warm summer day attire scrunching a hand on the summer frocks trying hard to keep up with fresh horses down the runway. We saw the CCI 2 and 4 star horses presented, there were a couple spun, sadly, not an enjoyable trip home there. James Deacon (aka Mr Megan Jones) took on the task of presenting Jocular Vision in the CCI 4 star class as his jockey Emily Gray was incapacitated, poor James suffered a knee injury at the end of the runway when the bolshy Jocular Vision gave James a shoulder charge on the slippery bitumen, OUCH!!!
Thursday was the first day of competition, CCI 2 star dressage. Farlie went out into the field securing plenty of rider interviews, have a listen to the replay on the app. Some stand out performers were Madeleine ‘tiny tot’ Wilson and OTTB Aces High (dressage leaders), Emma King and DVZ Chevalier and Tegan Lush and Touchstone Felix all the way from WA. The ladies were certainly showing the boys how to sand dance as the first boy to appear in the placings was “AC” Andrew Cooper in 11th. The great thing noted was only 23 penalties separated 1st and last so really it was anyone’s competition.
Friday dawned cold, damp and dismal for the big guns in the CIC 3 star and the 4 star. Not conducive to submissive tests on very fit horses. Never have the hot drink vans at Adelaide 3DE done so well and the slushy vans made so little money. The 3 star saw Christine “Batesy” and Spooks aka Adelaide Hill lead the pack with a ripper of a test followed by noted proper dressage rider cum eventer Deon Stokes and his 2 rides, Crime Time and Koyuna Levi. Both these horses are really looking the goods at this level. Tim Boland and Napoleon rounding out 4th. Special mention of Sit Tight Radio golden boy Callum Buczak, he of the Beyonce hair flick from last year sported a man bun under his top hat.
After some refreshment the ground jury and crowd were ready for the main event. We learnt a number of things watching 4 star dressage:
- Kiwis can do dressage as good as the All blacks play union.
- Emily Gray’s horse Jocular Vision really dislikes dressage at Adelaide.
- You can get palomino OTTB’S!!!!
- Megan Jones’ horse KP Impress is very aptly named.
- 6 is the new 8.
Much to the Aussie supporter’s chagrin Clarke Johnstone was leading after a super test followed by WA sheep farmer Sonia Johnson on the world traveller Parkiarrup Illicit Liason and Megan Jones with the mare “Candy”, 3rd.
Saturday cross country day was hectic but to everyone’s delight a fine sunny day! Co-commentator Lindsay Constable was imitating the Leyland Brothers (travelling all over the countryside) getting interviews, reporting on fences not shown on the big screen and generally just getting amongst it. The blue lounge had prime real estate front and centre at the big screen tent.
We kicked off the day with cool, misty almost foggy conditions for the 2 star. Quite a few combinations found the course tough going with a number of retirements and eliminations including dressage leader Maddie Wilson whose steed decided he could not possible go near fence 1 let alone jump it. We must say Maddie showed supreme horsemanship and sportsmanship and class in shaking her head and walking back to the very near stables with a rueful smile on her face. Penalties were spread throughout the course but the real stars of the 2 star were young Chelsea Priestley on the not so young Skansen Purist. Her xc round was pure class showing all the tips she has picked up from training with AC have paid off. Clear and under to be top of leader board. Emma Mason and new ride Warrego Marco Polo did a foot perfect round apart from a couple of pesky time faults to move up to 2nd.
With anticipation levels off the Richter scale the 4 star started. Right from the first course walk we knew this was a tough course very deserved of the 4 star status. How would the Antipodeans handle it? We are not going to mention the war of ‘was the white on the left and the red on the right’ except to say that the rulings were very influential on final places but more importantly VERY influential on the STR tipping competition.
Thanks Sharmayne Spencer, Heritage Hill for sponsoring the Adelaide tipping comps.
AC was the first rider that showed us that 4 star is a piece of cake on the very fancy mare Tasman Park Ovation, clear and 1 sec over. Megan and young Candy were super, Kiwi Andy Daines went clear despite carrying an extra 5kgs of hair product under his helmet. Mr “all round nice guy” Yona Lloyd was the token victim of the 1st fence, in this class, parting company from ex police horse Sgt Crisp before leaving the view of the VIP tent. Emily Gray exacted revenge on Jocular Visions dressage improprieties by doing a tidy clear and under time. The WA sheep farmer had a great round on her young up and comer, Misty Isle Valentino. Sadly, for Sonja, Parkirarrup Illicit Liaison was in sight of the finish line and the beautiful white-legged wonder merely slipped with a hind leg and injured a ligament over his hock, Sonja was quick to jump off when she knew something was really wrong. Big Stu Tinney showed us that being older doesn’t mean being slower with a double clear. STR was on the edge of the blue lounge when fave Katie Taliana started and finished full of running on Trevalgar II with a few time penalties. Thankfully no controversy after Clarke’s round on the cat-like grey Balmoral Sensation- a very clear clear with a few time to retain top spot.
To round out the day we had the flurry of cross country that is the CIC 3 star. Christine “Batesy” and Spooks had a walk in the park to stay at the pointy end, “Beyonce” Callum made our day by going clear, Shane Rose returned to his usual form of clear and fast on the young, Contender sired Swiper and AC piloted Lagoes Choice around for 2nd fastest clear. No doubt AC earnt a steak or 2 at the Britannia on Saturday night after riding a horse in each class.
At the end of cross country a sadness enveloped everyone at the event when the news that Gill Rolton had passed away was made known. There is not enough word space anywhere to come close to describing her input into our sport. She will be sorely and sadly missed.
There were more sore heads than sore horses for the final trot up. Notable absence from the 4 star was Jocular Vision and only 3 of the 2 star horses withdrew after cross country.
CCI 2 star Show jumping was over and done with almost before morning tea with only 20 rounds to get through out of nearly 50 starters on dressage day. Clear rounds were scarcer than lucerne hay in a drought- only 2, one belonged to the girl from Condobolin Courtney Stubblefield! A big shout out to Courtney and coach Mattea Davidson, this was huge result for Courtney as she also won the Young Rider class! Chelsea with “the oldie that still has it”, Skansen Purist dropped 2 to move down to 2nd whilst Emma “Maso” Mason gave NSW reason to cheer with only 1 pole removed to finish as reigning Adelaide 2 star premier!
CIC 3 star saw rails galore! Notable exceptions were Em Anker with 1 down, great to see her have a cracker comp after a nasty fall at Melbourne 3DE in June. “Beyonce” Callum left all the sticks up, Matavia Cheval is a truly lovely horse can’t wait for him to put his best hoof forward in the sand dancing! Keep him in mind for the future. “Batesy” delivered a 4 penalty round to take the NSW tally to 2 wins. A super result for Christine, over coming adversity is a strength of our eventing family, onwards and upwards now for Team Bates!
4 star show jumping was a brief affair only 13 horses to jump the sticks, getting under way after a huge class of World Cup jumpers took us from a cool crisp morning to the baking hot afternoon sun. The slushy wagons were cheering! Shade or a cool spot to take in the 4 star were prime real estate for the afternoon ahead. Pre- post favourites Hazel and Clifford ended on a good note with their characteristic workmanlike clear round. No other clears were recorded until local hero Megan and Candy put pressure on leader Kiwi Clarke. Cool as ice, no haka in sight saw Kiwi Clarke and Balmoral Sensation jump a foot perfect round to take the win, the Mitsubishi car and the cash!
Just like that Adelaide was over for another year, the commentary team bolted for the airport and the team from Bimbadeen took possession of the blue lounge for the trip back to NSW. Such a wonderful competition, your credit card takes a beating that will take it 12 months to recover from and the same can be said for your liver function. As a competitor if you had a successful comp you can drive home with a sense of fulfillment and if you had a not so successful one you can send an urgent, pleading email to the secretary of Wallaby Hill 3DE begging for a late entry. Unfortunately, due to unreliable internet service we can’t take the blue lounge to WHF but what a way to round out 2017.
Sit Tight Radio runs on love and the fabulous support from Laura Wallace and Horsewerks Bowral, see their Facebook page and the new website http://horsewerks.com.au/ for everything “Horses, Humans, Hounds”.