Tom McDermott – World Cup success wraps up brilliant week in Melbourne
The fifth event in the Australian World Cup Qualifying Series for 2019-20 was held this afternoon at the Royal Melbourne Show. The class brought together a superb field of riders and horses, including the winners of all four events to date, Clay Simmonds and Oaks Castanza (Caboolture), Tom McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille (Gatton), Billy Raymont and Anton (Waratah Showjumping) and Russell Johnstone and Daprice (Adelaide Royal). Throw in WEG representatives and Australian Senior Champions Jamie Kermond and Chris Chugg and it is hard to imagine a stronger field.
The competition was held on the Sun-Herald main arena at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, with 30 combinations entered. The going was tough in Round One, with three retirements and no clear rounds in the first nine combinations. It took until the tenth combination out, New Zealand visitor Briar Burnett-Grant and Fiber Fresh Veroana to prove that a clear round could be achieved, doing so in 86.98 seconds (time allowed on course 92.00 seconds).
Briar Burnett-Grant and Fiber Fresh Veroana
Following their example, the very next combination, Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation also went clear. Other clear rounds were recorded by Gabrielle Kuna and Flaire, Billy Raymont and Anton, and Brook Campbell and a horse on World Cup debut, Copabella Voltage. In fastastic efforts, Katie Laurie managed to record two clear rounds on Casebrooke Lomond and Cera Caruso, while this feat was repeated by the in-form Tom McDermott with Alpha Activity and Elegance De La Charmille.
World Cup qualifying class regulations dictate that a minimum of 12 combinations are invited back to participate in Round Two. These nine clears were joined by the three fastest 4-faulters, being Clay Simmonds and Oaks Castanza, Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug as well as Melissa Blair and Zidora. This meant that Series leader Chris Chugg was pushed back to thirteenth place and only picked up a handful of series points from this class.
First out on the course for Round Two were Melissa Blair and Zidora. Carrying 4 penalties they went clear in 60.04 seconds, well under the time allowed of 68 seconds. This quick time and a total of 4 penalties set a benchmark for the rest of the field to catch. The next pair of Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug were quick around the course, but a further rail meant they finished on 8 penalties and out of contention. Just back from a stint training with Rowan Willis in Canada, Clay Simmonds and Oaks Castanza managed to take a further rail to also finish on 8.
First out of the Round One clears were Brooke Campbell and Copabella Voltage. They took their first rail of the class to also finish on a total of 4 penalties, however their time was slower than Melissa Blair and Zidora, so they slotted into second place for the time being. Casebrooke Lomond, ridden by Katie Laurie was next on course, however, in attempting to complete the course as quickly as possible, took out two rails and their chance of winning.
Melissa Blair had seen four combinations attempt to take the lead from her and all had failed to do so. They question was could she hang on.
The New Zealand young-gun Brian Burnett-Grant and Fiber Fresh Veroana were next. They almost made it around the course clear, taking just a single rail at the second of the double to finish on a total of 4 penalties. They did so in just 56.02 seconds and therefore took the lead by over 4 seconds. They had certainly given something for the second half of the field to chase.
Next out were Gabrielle Kuna and Flaire. They took the competition to a new level, achieving the first double clear in 55.44 seconds. This meant that the rest of the field had to not only be faultless, but fast, if they wanted to take the win. Tom McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille, were the first combination to take up the challenge. They rocketed around the course and looked as if the lead was theirs, until the last, where they took a rail. The time of 50.15 meant that they were easily the best placed of the total 4-faulters.
Katie Laurie and Cera Caruso were next. They took a rail and with a time of 53.43, had to settle for third place for the time being. In a parallel performance, Billy Raymont and Anton also took a single rail, however, their time of 55.27 placed them just behind Katie Laurie and Cera Caruso.
The second last combination on course, Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation, had a fantastic round. They were the second team to record double clear and with a time (52.61 seconds) fast enough to snatch the lead from Gabrielle Kuna and Flaire.
Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation. Photo credit: Julie Wilson
So, as these things often do, it came down to the last combination, entering the arena knowing exactly what was required to do to take the win. Clear in less than 52.61 seconds was the standard required and if anybody could threaten, it was Tom McDermott and Alpha Activity.
After a short delay while McDermott warmed up (having ridden only a few entrants previously), the anticipation around the arena grew. He had already completed the course in a quicker time on Elegance De La Charmille, so we knew it could be done.
As the crowd held their collective breaths, the excitement grew as they cleared each fence in succession. As they cleared the last, all eyes turned towards the clock and the cheers rang out when we saw the time, 50.96 seconds! McDermott had managed to snatch the lead and secure the win.
Tom McDermott and Alpha Activity. Photo credit: Julie Wilson
In the end there were only three combinations who recorded double clear rounds and they were the three on the podium.
We look forward to the next round of the Australian World Cup Qualifying series for 2019/20, to be held in Tamworth in two week’s time. Australian Jumping will bring you a report on the current Series standings after this round, as soon as they become available.
The full placings from this class are listed below:
|1st||Tom McDermott||Alpha Activity|
|2nd||Jamie Kermond||Yandoo Oaks Constellation|
|4th||Tom McDermott||Elegance De La Charmille|
|5th||Katie Laurie||Cera Caruso|
|7th||Briar Burnett-Grant||Fiber Fresh Veroana|
|9th||Brooke Campbell||Copabella Voltage|
|10th||Katie Laurie||Casebrooke Lomond|
|11th||Clay Simmonds||Oaks Castanza|
|12th||Clint Beresford||Emmaville Jitterbug|