“I’ve been the bridesmaid in the Patersons Plate so many times – second, third, but never the winner until today.”
Chelsea McInnes and her long-time partner Diamond B Vigo finally won the big one, scoring the only double clear in SRSJC’s iconic The Patersons Plate 1.40m Grand Prix. It was a well-deserved win against a field that included in-form combinations like last year’s winners, Caitlin Bolger and Quintender mare, Oaks Quickstep. Caitlin’s elimination during Round 2 at the half-Aachen jump that came off the arching right hand turn was a bittersweet blip on her strong run on the 8-year old mare she co-owns with Oaks Sport Horses’ Alice Cameron. But their first round showed they will be a mighty force in upcoming WA championships. As for Chelsea, her highly experienced Vivant mare ‘Princess’ was in top form and could be this season’s horse to beat in WA’s elite competition.
As always, South Australian FEI-3 course designer Michael Haese set thoughtful tracks over the two-day show in Brookleigh’s large outdoor arena, with technical challenges increasing from Saturday to Sunday’s competition. Double clear rounds were sparse, but riders were inspired by the challenges and those who rode forward – especially through the corners – answered the on-course questions.
It was refreshing to see Shawn Squire’s Maximouse return to the ring with a decisive win in the Jakoma Equestrian – EWA Jumping Horse of the Year Qualifier. The diminutive Vivant-gelding showed he’s recovered from last year’s injury. Only two of the 16 starters qualified to jump off, with the nimble Maximouse outpacing Sophie Ahmat and Noblewood Park Noblesque’s strong performance by more than three seconds.
Double clear wins in SRSJC Championship classes included Youth Series Championship winners Zeniah Albonetti and Melton Park Sherlock; Junior Championship winners Ellie Gough and GKO Arpeggio; Young Rider Championship winners Izabelle Dobson and Smiling Assassin; and EquineWorld SRSJC Amateur winners Courtney O’Sullivan and Tinkas’ Bay.
Large classes throughout the weekend created tight competition, including the astonishingly fast ride by Kate Ingham and Asti Aspiration in Sunday’s Quickmail Speed Stakes. Their flat-out time, skimming the jumps, clearly beat the time-saving turns by second-place finishers Sophie Ahmat and Sweet As NZPH by more than three seconds. It was the second year in a row Kate and her eventer won SRSJC’s Table C class.
Spectators held their breath again during the nail-biting finish between Georgie Siciliano and Sovereign’s Gizelle and Emily Hovell and Yalambi’s High Fashion in the Dr Kathy Klein – EWA Jumping Silver Series Qualifier – with Gizelle winner on time in a double-clear dual between two WA bred, strongly performing mares.
Consistently outstanding performances at SRSJC’s 2019 shows were celebrated by awards to the club’s Hi Points winners: Kathryn Miles (Youth); Grace Lamont (Junior – for the second consecutive year); Samantha Lamont (Young Rider); and Wendy Reid (Senior). Spectators in the VIP Marquee had the best view of everything, appreciating competitors’ achievements while lunching on Stewarts Restaurant catering, drinking Talijancich’s Swan Valley wines and listening to the dulcet voice of Victoria Abbott – who jumped straight from her own jumping round to entertain the lunch guests during Sunday afternoon’s competition.
The spectacular weather, courses and atmosphere could not have been a better finale for SRSJC’s 12th competition season.
Photos: S McGill. For full results, go to Events.