A sold out final show celebrated another remarkable year for Swan River Showjumping, shining the spotlight on WA’s top showjumpers.
“This is our ninth year at Brookleigh, but our first Annual Championships indoors,” said SRSJC Chair Suzanne McGill about one of the state’s most prestigious jumping fixtures. The pinnacle of SRSJC’s season, this end-of-season event hosts SRSJC’s many sponsors and, “the indoor format got spectators and our VIPs sitting in the grandstand right alongside this year’s action.”
And there was plenty of that. Gavin Chester’s thoughtful tracks tested the riders to think forward and fast, every class run at 350m per minute. There were thrilling rounds over courses that demanded accurate, forward riding over full-sized obstacles and square oxers. “I avoid using a lot of fill to distract the less experienced horses,” said Gavin about the initial tracks. Regardless of the arena decor, it was the jumping, rather than visual stimuli, that challenged competitors throughout the weekend.
From the first to last class, competition was outstanding over Brookleigh’s well- groomed indoor surface. “We aimed for a balanced programme of open and restricted classes from 90cm to 1.35m on Saturday and from 1.10m to 1.40m+ on Sunday.” Starting heights of 1.10 m and 1.20m in Saturday’s junior and young rider championships opened opportunities for more riders, with those in jump offs still getting to jump over higher fences.
But without a doubt, the best came last in the Patersons Plate Grand Prix. “Ideally, I’d like four horses in the final jump off,” mentioned Gavin Chester, who was thrilled when six horses competed in spectacular third round jump off.
Last year’s winner, Maddison Stephen – this year riding Yalambi’s Carmen, and Chelsea McInnes on Diamond B Vigo went clear in Round One, but both added four faults in the second round (which took in all horses with eight penalties or less). With six of the state’s top competitors equal on four faults after two rounds, all progressed to the final jump off.
And it was a nail-biter, with Steph Tucker on Oaks Redwood, David Dobson on Oaks Zena and Chelsea McInnes on Diamond B Vigo jumping clear with breathtaking speed across the eight remaining, mostly 1.45m obstacles. In the end, 2014 Patersons Plate winners Stef Tucker and Oaks Redwood produced an extraordinary performance that proved why they are the current WA State Jumping Champions and worthy double winners of the Patersons Plate.
With Oaks Redwood still only 10 years old, this wonderful partnership is bound to return to attempt a third Patersons Plate win when Swan River Showjumping resumes its event calendar next year.
Congratulations to this weekend’s winners (See SRSJC Events/Results for all placings):
CLASS 1 BROOKLEIGH 90CM OPEN Abbey Robson, Perdita Navarre
2A KENTAUR 1.05M OPEN Richelle Giltrap, Sole Purpose
CLASS 2B SUBWAY SWAN VIEW NOVICE CHAMP (rug sponsored by Hey Pesto) Rick Dabner, Tesseract E
CLASS 3A HORSELAND MIDLAND 1.10M OPEN Eleska Brownlee, Classic Mischief
CLASS 3B NG EQUINE JUNIOR JUMPER (rug sponsored by Eric Lloyd Photography) Chloe Versteegan, Raylen’s Eliza
CLASS 4A CWD AUSTRALIA 1.20M OPEN Rory Hovell, Yalambi’s Finnigan
CLASS 4B JAKOMA EQUESTRIAN SRSJC YOUNG RIDER Sophie Ahmat, Sweet As NZPH
CLASS 5 ANITONE 1.30-1.35M CHALLENGE Rosie Oliver, Valiant Star
CLASS 6 QUICKMAIL SPEED STAKES Sophie Ahmat, Sweet As NZPH
CLASS 7 DR KATHY KLEIN NEWCOMERS CHAMPIONSHIP Anna McGregor, Oaks Valentina
CLASS 8 EQUINEWORLD AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP Hanna Henry, Corsair
CLASS 9 OAKS SPORT HORSES RISING STARS Mike Bennett, Belcam Charlotte
CLASS 10 THE PATERSONS PLATE GRAND PRIX Stephanie Tucker, Oaks Redwood
SRSJC ANNUAL HI POINTS WINNERS:
JUNIOR (BRIGADOON PRODUCE): Sari Golisano
YOUNG RIDER (BINDOON TRACTORS): Sophie Ahmat
SENIOR RIDER (DARK SELECTIONS): Bridget Kelly