Sydney Royal 2023 – that’s a wrap
Above: Amanda Madigan and Diamond B Vivienne.
Yesterday saw the final day of the Jumping program at the 2023 Sydney Royal Easter Show, conducted in front of a crowd that grew steadily throughout the day. There were just two classes on the program, firstly the Mini Prix in the morning and in the afternoon, the feature class on the Jumping program, the very prestigious and time-honoured Grand Prix.
The Mini Prix saw a total of 14 combinations competing, all of which had to qualify for a place on the start list, based on their performances throughout the week. This competition was decided over two rounds and with only the top 10 combinations (or all clears) being invited back for the second round, the pressure was on from the start. When the dust settled and all the combinations had been around once, the top 10 consisted of one combination carrying 12 faults, three with 8 faults, one with six faults and one carrying 4 faults, along with four combinations who were clear and going into round 2 in the best possible position.
The first combination out in the second round was the 12-fault combination of Will Dight and Thea, the current Australian Mini Prix champions. They had a clear round, which did nothing to harm their cause, however, all they could do now was watch on with fingers crossed and watch the next nine combinations.
Above: Will Dight and Thea.
The next two combinations on course were Kate Hinschen and Conchita Van De Helle followed by Jess Rice-Ward and Tulara Diangarol, who both carried eight faults into Round 2. They each took a pair of rails to match their first-round efforts and dropped out of contention, both finishing on a total of 16 faults. Jamie Winning-Kermond and Yandoo Honolulu, also carrying 8 faults, were next. They had a clear round to finish on eight and take the lead with six combinations still to come.
Next out were Andrew Lamb and Janory DP who took several rails to add to the six they carried into round 2, forcing them to drop the leader board. Anneliese Wansey and Texas were next out bringing four penalties with them. A single rail took them to a total of 8, but a time 1.2 seconds faster than Jamie Winning-Kermond and Yandoo Honolulu propelled them into the lead.
Now it was time for the first-round clears to tackle the course. First of these out were Conor Reed and Alpha Activity. They had a great round, completing the course with a clear round and snatching the lead in a time of 66.10 seconds. They were followed by James Mooney and KPH Cavatina, who took a rail to finish on four faults and lie in second place for the time being.
Above: Conor Reed and Alpha Activity.
The second last combination out were Sarah Duggan and Dublin, who were attempting to go one better than their second placing in the Mini Prix last year. They put in a wonderful clear round, (making it double clear two years in a row) however, unfortunately for them, their time was over six seconds slower than Conor Reed and Alpha Activity, meaning they had to settle for provisional second place, however, they had guaranteed themselves in a position on the podium.
Above: Sarah Duggan and Dublin.
The last pair on course were Aaron Hadlow and Cera Stiletto who knew exactly what they needed to do to take the win. Nothing short of a clear round and a time less than 66.10 seconds would be required, however, knowing what needs to be done and actually doing it are two different things. Hadlow and Cera Stiletto proved they could do both. They got the job done in style by going clear in just 65.13 seconds to take the win. It was a popular win with lots of cheering to be heard as Hadlow celebrated immediately after crossing the finish line.
Above: Aaron Hadlow and Cera Stiletto.
For their efforts, as the rider of the winning horse in the Mini Prix, Hadlow accepted the Kevin Bourke Memorial Perpetual Trophy, which was donated by fellow riders in the memory of the late Kevin Bourke. It has been a successful show for Hadlow, which comes on the 20th anniversary of him being presented with the Maurice Gordon Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the best boy junior rider in the show, which he won for the first time in 2003. The top six placegetters in the Mini Prix were:
MINI PRIX RESULTS
|1st||Aaron Hadlow||Cera Stiletto|
|2nd||Conor Reed||Alpha Activity|
|4th||James Mooney||KPH Cavatina|
|6th||Jamie Winning-Kermond||Yandoo Honolulu|
There was a break in the Jumping program to allow a range of other types of entertainment to take place in the main arena, one of which was another type of jumping when the motorcycle stunt riders put on a display. However, eventually after 10 days of jumping competition, it was time for the main event of the Program, the Grand Prix.
Only a select field of 15 combinations were invited to enter which included some of the biggest names on the Australian Jumping scene, including at least two Australian Senior Champion riders ans well as Olympian Russell Johnstone.
After the first round, there were only four combinations able to go clear. These four carried zero faults through to the second round, while rounding out the top 10 going into the second round were three 4-faulters and another three 8-faulters.
After a break of an hour, these 10, (less one of the 8-faulters who did not start) returned to tackle the Graeme Watts built course which occupied the entire eastern end of the stadium.
The first combination out were Stuart Jenkins and Fairview Alicana, visiting from Queensland, who had a fantastic clear round to finish with a total of eight faults and thereby exert some pressure on all those to follow. They were followed by the other combination carrying eight faults into Round two, this time, visitors from Victoria Ally Lamb and Eagle Rock. They almost emulated the round of the combination before them, however, took a rail at the very last fence to add four to their score for a total of 12.
Above: Stuart Jenkins and Fairview Alicana.
The next pair on course were Tom McDermott and Cooley Gangster, who put together a clear fast round which did not add to their first round four faults propelling them into the lead. They were followed by Savanna Hopkinson and Bittern Park Karmen, who also went clear, however, their time of 72.43 seconds was no match for Tom and Cooley Gangster’s 69.02 seconds, so they remained in the lead.
Russell Johnstone and Daprice were next, also carrying four faults. Johnstone who won this Grand Prix in 2014, put in an identical performance to the other two four faulters and with a time of 70.34 seconds, they slotted into second place.
The first of the first-round clears were Brook Dobbin and Gina MVNZ. They managed to leave all the rails intact, however a slow time added six faults and their chance of victory had evaporated. Jamie Winning-Kermond and Tulara Stolensky could not repeat their first round clear, knocking down two rails and dropping out of contention.
The second last horse on course was Vahlinvader, ridden by Aaron Hadlow, the winner of the earlier Grand Prix. They came out and gave the course a great shake, eclipsing the leader’s time, but taking a rail in the process. They joined three other combinations with a final total of four faults, but their time took them to the lead.
Above: Aaron Hadlow and Vahlinvader.
The last pair knew exactly what they needed to do to take the win. Amanda Madigan and Diamond B Vivienne could win the Grand Prix if they incurred three faults or less, or, if scored four faults, then they had to be quicker than 68.90 seconds. There performance left no doubt. Not only did they go clear, but the recorded a quicker time than every other competitor, bringing it home in 68.30 seconds. It was a fantastic performance, and it is the first time Amanda has won the Grand Prix at this show, although 14 years ago she won the mini prix with TP Gifted.
Above: Amanda Madigan and Diamond B Vivienne.
The Grand Prix was a grand spectacle to watch, with high quality jumping. The fact that there were only four rails down in total from nine combinations in the second round is testament to that. The top 10 placegetters in the Grand Prix were as follows:
GRAND PRIX RESULTS
|1st||Amanda Madigan||Diamond B Vivienne|
|3rd||Tom McDermott||Cooley Gangster|
|5th||Savanna Hopkinson||Bittern Park Karmen|
|6th||Brook Dobbin||Gina MVNZ|
|7th||Jamie Winning-Kermond||Tulara Stolensky|
|8th||Stuart Jenkins||Fairview Alicana|
|9th||Ally Lamb||Eagle Rock|
|10th||Amber Fuller||CP Aretino|
At the presentation, the Frank Thomas Memorial Perpetual Trophy, which was donated by the family of the late Mr F K Thomas, for the owner of the winning horse in the Grand Prix was awarded to Amanda Madigan on behalf of Diamond B Vivienne and Diamond B Farm Pty Ltd.
The Samuel Hordern Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by members of the Committee of the Equestrian Federation of Australia (NSW) Ltd, for the Jumping Horse of the Show. Was presented to Amanda Madigan on behalf of the winning horse, Diamond B Vivienne and Diamond B Farm Pty Ltd
Stuart Jenkins accepted an award on behalf of Fairview Alicana, which was named the Young Jumping Horse of the Show.
The final presentation of the day was the E S Playfair Perpetual Trophy, donated by the late Mrs E S Playfair, for the Most Successful Rider in Jumping Contests (Junior contest excluded) during the Sydney Royal Easter Show. This award went to Tom McDermott who has now won the award the last four times it has been awarded.