Team Emcee Apparel soar to victory in Willinga Park AJTL
Under the clearest of blue skies on the most beautiful of spring days, the first round of the inaugural season of the Australian Jumping Teams League (AJTL) was held this afternoon at Willinga Park on the NSW South Coast. In a thrilling contest, held in front of an enthralled crowd, Team Emcee Apparel, took the victory, with Team Yandoo filling second place and Team Willinga Park running third, but only after tying with Team Yandoo on penalties and having to be split on times.
The contest came right down to the end, with Team Emcee Apparel being the only team to complete all six rides clear and claim the win. Let’s review how the excitement unfolded.
Ten corporate owned teams; Team Chatham Park – (CHA), Team Emcee Apparel – (EMC), Team Equine International Airfreight – (EIA), Team Horsepower – (HOR), Team Kiernan Haulage – (KIE), Team Martin Collins Australia – (MAR), Team Oaks Sport Horses – (OAK), Team Takapoto Estate Showjumping – (TAK) , Team Willinga Park – (WIL) and Team Yandoo – (YAN) were represented today. Each team was comprised today by three of their four team members, with one competing member required to be less than 25 years old. For details of the competing riders and the order draw conducted last night, please click HERE.
Round One saw all thirty riders do their best over the beautifully designed 1.40m course. It wasn’t long before we saw our first clear round by Amanda Madigan (EMC) and Diamond B Vivienne, which was closely followed by the second by James Arkins (EIA) and Eurostar 1. Melissa Blair (YAN) and Zidora also went clear so that after each team had sent their first rider around the course, there were three teams tied on the best possible score of zero.
Melissa Blair (YAN) and Zidora
When the second riders from each team took to the course, Team Emcee Apparel representative, Jess Tripp (EMC) and Diamond B Verona went clear, keeping them in the lead. Her performance was matched by Elliott Reeves (EIA) and Aveden Indigo and later by New Zealander Briar Burnett-Grant (YAN) and Fiber Fresh Veroana keeping these three teams tied in first place with perfect scores.
Jess Tripp (EMC) and Diamond B Verona
Elliott Reeves (EIA) and Aveden Indigo
Jessie Rice-Ward (EMC) was the third rider and by also going clear, it meant that her team had finished Round One on zero penalties to really put the heat on the other clear teams.
If Chris Chugg (EIA) and KG Queenie were feeling the pressure, then it certainly did not show, because they also went clear to retain a share of the lead. Jamie Kermond (YAN) and Yandoo Oaks Constellation also matched their rivals to retain a three way lead ofter Round One.
Chris Chugg (EIA) and KG Queenie
So after Round One, there were three teams with perfect records, however as they had a faster combined time, Team Yandoo were in first place, Team Emcee in second and Team Equine International Airfreight had to settle for the third spot.
The number of penalties recorded by each rider in Round One is listed below:
|Will Dight (U25)||TAK||1|
|Erin Buswell (U25)||HOR||4|
|Brooke Langbecker (25)||WIL||0|
|Izabella Stone (U25)||OAK||2|
|Elliott Reeves (U25)||EIA||0|
|Jasmine Dennison (U25)||KIE||4|
|Briar Burnett-Grant (25)||YAN||0|
|Amelia Douglass (U25)||CHA||5|
|Jessica Rice-Ward (U25)||EMC||0|
|Jamie Priestley (U25)||MAR||8|
*Due to a fall, the rider was eliminated. Penalties are allocated as highest completed score +20
Based on these individual scores, team positions and totals after Round One were:
|2nd||Team Emcee Apparel||0|
|3rd||Team Equine International Airfreight||0|
|5th||Team Oaks Sport Horses||3|
|6th||Team Willinga Park||4|
|7th||Team Chatham Park||6|
|8th||Team Kiernan Haulage||18|
|9th||Team Martin Collins Australia||27|
Unfortunately for Team Martin Collins Australia and Team Horsepower, under the AJTL competition rules, only the top eight teams are eligible to continue on to Round Two. With only a rail separating the top six teams, Round Two had all the prospects of being a real nail-biter.
Just as they did in Round One, the three leading teams had their first riders, namely James Arkins (EIA), Amanda Madigan (EMC), and Melissa Blair (YAN), all go clear to keep it tied on zero penalties at the top of the leaderboard.
Elliott Reeves (EIF) and Aveden Indigo attempted to produce the fifth clear round for his team, however took a rail and, at least temporarily, lost the lead. By going clear Jess Tripp (EMC) and Diamond B Verona, kept their team’s perfect record and now the pressure was on the Team Yandoo. Unfortunately for them the next Yandoo rider Briar Burnett-Grant took a rail, leaving Team Emcee Apparel in the lead by themselves. As a number of the last riders from each team went clear, the pressure was on when Team Emcee Apparel’s final rider, Jessie Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross hit the course. If they could go clear then they could not be beaten. In a fantastic pressure ride by the youngest competitor in the field, Rice-Ward completed her team’s sixth clear round to secure the victory and the $40,000 prize money.
Jessie Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross
After Round Two, the penalty count for each rider was as follows:
|Will Dight (U25)||TAK||1||0||1|
|Jasmine Dennison (U25)||KIE||4||4||8|
|Amelia Douglass (U25)||CHA||5||8||13|
|Brooke Langbecker (25)||WIL||0||0||0|
|Izabella Stone (U25)||OAK||2||1||3|
|Elliott Reeves (U25)||EIA||0||4||4|
|Briar Burnett-Grant (25)||YAN||0||4||0|
|Jessica Rice-Ward (U25)||EMC||0||0||0|
Based on these individual scores, team positions and totals after Round Two were:
|1st||Team Emcee Apparel||0||0||0|
|4th||Team Equine International Airfreight||0||4||4|
|5th||Team Takapoto Estate Showjumping||1||4||5|
|6th||Team Oaks Sport Horses||3||9||12|
|7th||Team Chatham Park||6||16||22|
|8th||Team Kiernan Haulage||18||8||26|
Teams Yandoo, Willinga and Equine International Airfreight could only be separated by aggregate times of the three riders in Round Two.
Katie Laurie and Casebrook Lomond (WIL)
The competition was of the highest class with the top four teams, recording only three rails between them after 24 individual rides, however, with a perfect record, and with two under 25 riders competing today, Team Emcee Apparel were the deserved winners.
After the first AJTL event for the season, unofficially, the Teams pointscore table looks like this:
|1st||Team Emcee Apparel||$40,000||20|
|3rd||Team Willinga Park||$12,500||15|
|4th||Team Equine International Airfreight||$10,000||12|
|5th||Team Takapoto Estate Showjumping||$7,500||10|
|6th||Team Oaks Sport Horses||$5,000||8|
|7th||Team Chatham Park||$2,500||6|
|8th||Team Kiernan Haulage||$2,500||5|
|9th||Team Martin Collins Australia||–||4|
We look forward to the second AJTL event, scheduled for 1 October at SIEC.