Triple Crown Series Championships decided at Willinga Park
The stunning Willinga Park Equestrian Centre was the venue for the much anticipated final of the NSW Triple Crown Series.
The Futurity and Senior Championships were both decided on Saturday on the glorious grass jumping arena which the Willinga Park team managed very well under challenging weather conditions. However a heavy storm on Saturday night with a massive amount of rainfall was the opportunity for the Willinga Park complex to demonstrate its versatility. The team moved the entire show, for the four remaining finals classes, to their Grand Prix Arena with the outstanding all-weather OTTO Sport surface.
The NSW Triple Crown Series consisted of three events with an accumulation points system to determine the overall series winner. In each class, the first leg of the series was held at the NSW Country Championships in Wagga Wagga, and the second leg at the NSW State Championships two weeks later in Canberra. With extra prizemoney on offer for winning the series, the competition at Willinga Park’s Jumping Grand Final was not to be missed.
The winner of the NSW Country Futurity Championship was Stuart Jenkins and Blackall Park Penny Lane, while Brook Dobbin and Leopoldo MVNZ took out the NSW State Futurity Championship.
Stuart Jenkins and Blackall Park Penny Lane were victorious in one event and placed third in the other and therefore came into the final weekend in a strong position. The points standing of the top placed fifteen combinations prior to Willinga Park event are listed below:
|1st||Stuart Jenkins||Blackall Park Penny Lane||119|
|2nd||Katie Laurie||McCaw MVNZ||110|
|3rd||Jamie Priestley||Oaks Diamantina||109|
|4th||Tom McDermott||Yakambis Confidant||100|
|6th||Leon Carroll||Mia Catalina||92|
|7th||Stephen Dingwall||Cavalier Carolous||90|
|8th||Melissa Blair||Gigant Z||87|
|10th||Izabella Stone||Lincoln MVNZ||83|
|11th||Tom McDermott||Yalambis Cassini Rosso||82|
|12th||Amber Fuller||Armani Z||74|
|13th||Erin Roddy||Charlie’s Boy HH||71|
|14th||Emily Mann||Belcam Cachi||65|
|15th||Georgia Price||Batman Xtreme||64|
Unplaced in Friday’s Round One, Stuart Jenkins and Blackall Park Penny Lane’s grip on the triple crown series title was a little looser than it had been, while Katie Laurie and McCaw MVNZ, were better placed than ever.
The Futurity Final Saturday provided excitement for the large number of spectators. Jenkins returned to form by winning the jump-off where he was the only participant to go double clear. Even though Paul Brent and Kabalesse Kavita, by virtue of their consistency over the two days, were the winners of the Willinga Park Futurity Championship, the overall winners of the Futurity class Triple Crown Series were indeed Stuart Jenkins and Blackall Park Penny Lane. In Stuart’s last presentation on Penny Lane before returning her to wife Becky, they received the $1,000 prize for winning the series. Runner up was the in-form Katie Laurie and McCaw MVNZ who pocketed the $500 prize for second.
The greatly anticipated Grand Final of the NSW Triple Crown Series for the Senior Championship was also held on Saturday under somewhat challenging conditions
Tom McDermott and his mare Elegance De La Charmille, won both the first two events at the NSW Country Championships in Wagga Wagga and the NSW Senior Title in Canberra. This meant that not only was this combination in a great position to take out the title entering this weekend’s Grand Final, but he was also in line for a massive $50,000 bonus if he could win all three events.
The table below shows the positions of the top 15 Senior combinations going into the Willinga Park Grand Prix event.
|1st||Tom McDermott||Elegance De La Charmille||82|
|2nd||Brooke Langbecker||Quintago 1||73|
|3rd||Stephen Dingwall||Cavalier Du Rouet||72|
|5th||Katie Laurie||Cera Caruso||68|
|6th||Amber Fuller||CP Aretino||59|
|7th||Emily Riley||Rhapsody in Blue||59|
|8th||Jennifer Wood||Cocaine Ego Z||58|
|9th||Alison Rowland||Glenara Cognac||52|
|10th||Tom McDermott||Alpha Activity||45|
|11th||Clint Beresford||SL Donato||44|
|12th||Chris Chugg||PSS Levilensky||37|
|13th||Elliot Reeves||Aveden Indigo||36|
|14th||Tom McDermott||Yalambis Finnigan||36|
In both the first round on Thursday and second round on Friday, a strong showing by Katie Laurie and Casebrooke Lomond saw them take both wins. Unfortunately for McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille, while they were still in a strong position to take the Triple Crown Title, the bonus for winning all three events looked like it was going to be difficult to secure.
But it was Katie Laurie and Casebrooke Lomond who did indeed triumph this weekend and by also taking out the final, were the clear winners of the Willinga Park event.
However, due to McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille’s dominance over the first two events, they were awarded the Triple Crown Series winner prize of $5,000. As with the Futurity Class, the runner up prize of $2,500 went to Katie Laurie, this time with Casebrooke Lomond.
Unfortunately for McDermott, the $50,000 bonus for winning all three events in the Triple Crown Series went unclaimed. However winning two championships out of the three is a fantastic achievement.
Having taken the win at the NSW Country Championships and performing well at the NSW State Championships, Jess Rice-Ward and Dusky Farm Cavalier found themselves leading the Triple Crown Series Junior Division going into Sunday’s Grand Final. However, very close on her heels was Sophie Hatch, filling both second and third places in partnership with different horses.
The top fifteen combinations going into the Willinga Park event were as follows:
|1st||Jess Rice-Ward||Dusky Farm Cavalier||82|
|2nd||Sophie Hatch||Glenara Mudslide||80|
|3rd||Sophie Hatch||Rosthwaite Belvedere||79|
|4th||Georgia Price||Fairbanks Lulu||73|
|5th||Hayley Cox||Aph Merlin||72|
|8th||Georgia Price||Wat Fleur Des Lis||60|
|10th||Georgia Apps||PP Masterclass||52|
|11th||Gracie Dawes||Barrabadeen Calypso||46|
|14th||Maleah Lang-McMahon||K.S. Sovereign’s Cadel||40|
|15th||Sally Simmonds||Oaks Chifley||37|
Round One of the Grand Final was held on Friday with young Queenslander Maleah Lang-McMahon and Vakarra Champagne taking the win. With Jess Rice-Ward and Dusky Farm Cavalier coming in seventh, combined with the second placing by Sophie Hatch and Glenara Mudslide, all was set for a fascinating final round today.
In the final, these Junior riders showed that the future of Australian jumping is in good hands. A wonderful display of jumping across the board saw twelve combinations go clear and form an exciting jump-off field. Maleah Lang-McMahon showed her absolute class by taking out today’s class but on a different horse from her Round One win.
The winner of the Grand Final was Clemency Hughes and Nicolette who demonstrated their consistency over the weekend, by finishing third and second in the round and final respectively.
So, despite a wonderful performance at Willinga Park by Maleah Lang-McMahon, to take out both classes, she was unable to match it with the top combinations who had competed at all three legs of the Triple Crown Series. The $1,000 prize for winning the Triple Crown Series Junior Championship went to Jess Rice-Ward and Dusky Farm Cavalier with Sophie Hatch and Rosthwaite Belvedere taking the $500 cheque for second.
MINI PRIX CHAMPIONSHIP
The next class at the state-of-the-art equine facility that is Willinga Park, was the final of the Mini-Prix Championship. After the first two events at the NSW Country Championships and the NSW State Championships, Jennifer Wood and Cassandro B were leading the race for the Triple Crown Series Mini-Prix Championship, with fourteen other combinations in hot pursuit. The leading combinations coming into the Willinga Park event were:
|1st||Jennifer Wood||Cassando B||99|
|2nd||Rod McQueen||Equus Echo||94|
|3rd||Jennifer Wood||Harvey B||92|
|4th||Tom McDermott||Yalambi’s Fair Diamond VDL||92|
|5th||Jessica Grant||Cosmorex Coffee Vienetta||89|
|7th||Izabella Stone||Colina 54||80|
|10th||Alison Rowland||Oaks Visionary||61|
|11th||Shimona Fraid||Isle Of Hinchinbrook||60|
|13th||Deon Williams||Versace Vision||56|
|14th||Jess Stalling||Diamond B Vermont||54|
With Jennifer Wood and Cassando B finishing nineteenth in Round One on Friday at Willinga Park, the race for the Triple Crown was thrown wide-open, particularly given the strong performance of Rod McQueen and Equus Echo, who came into the event in overall second place. Based on their combined performance over the Willinga Park weekend Izabella Stone and Bandito were declared the winners of the third event of the Triple Crown Mini-Prix Series.
However, the overall Triple Crown Series Mini-Prix Champion was Tom McDermott and Yalambis Fair Diamond VDL, who took away the $1,000 first prize. Following very closely behind by just a single point was Jennifer Wood and Cassando B, who pocketed $500 for second place.
The third Triple Crown Series Championship to be decided today at Willinga Park was the Amateur class. As Damien Churchill and Franklins Peace had won both legs of the series, they entered the weekend in a very strong position to take the Series.
Going into the Grand Final Weekend at Willinga Park, the top fifteen placed amateur combinations were:
|1st||Damien Churchill||Franklins Peace||98|
|3rd||Niki Dingwall||Cavalier Winsom||87|
|4th||Sarah Dodd||Diamond B Valencia||76|
|5th||Caitlin Brewer||Celeborn Ego Z||73|
|6th||Nadia Gronow||Oaks Debutante||69|
|7th||Ella Fisher||Ms. Moonlight||67|
|8th||Bonnie Martin||RR Amoretus||65|
|9th||Mikaela Maisano||Cheval De Dieu||57|
|10th||Cale Rushton||Kirmington Casper||47|
|11th||Eva Rasmussen||Devil Wears Prada||47|
|12th||Melanie Heygate||Pacific Odyssey||47|
|13th||Melissa Jasprizza||Woodsend Merlot||46|
|14th||Jenelle Waters||APH Rhythm||45|
|15th||Georgina Lucas||Peace Destiny||43|
Somewhat surprisingly, Churchill and Franklins Peace finished well down the leaderboard in nineteenth place on Friday. Unfortunately, this almost certainly put an end to his chances of winning the final. However, now the weekend competition was wide open and it gave other combinations hope of bridging the substantial gap that Churchill’s consecutive wins had opened up on the rest of the field.
As the winner of both classes here this weekend, Cale Rushton and Kirmington Casper were declared winners of the Willinga Park Amateur Championship.
However, the overall Triple Crown Series Amateur Champion was indeed the super consistent Damien Churchill and Franklins Peace, who took away the $1,000 first prize. Second place in the series was Niki Dingwall and Cavalier Winsom who take home $500.
YOUNG RIDER CHAMPIONSHIP
The final class today and a super finish to the Willinga Park Jumping Grand Final was the Young Rider Championship. This Triple Crown race was the tightest of all six divisions coming into the Grand Final Weekend.
The NSW Country Young Rider Championship winner was Jamie Priestley and Amaretto MVNZ, while the NSW Championship Young Rider winner was Erin Buswell and Quero Quero. These two combinations were tied in first place on 52 points, along with the very consistently performed Amelia Douglass and Sirius Du Granit. With top Junior rider Jess Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross just two points behind, it was clear that the race for the Triple Crown Series was going to be a hot one.
The top fifteen placed combinations coming into the weekend’s grand final were as follows:
|1st||Jamie Priestley||Amaretto MVNZ||52|
|2nd||Erin Buswell||Quero Quero||52|
|3rd||Amelia Douglass||Sirius Du Granit||52|
|4th||Jess Rice-Ward||CP Southern Cross||50|
|5th||Jamie Priestley||Kolora Stud Optimus||42|
|6th||Jacob Wells||Cobra De Capello||41|
|7th||Brooke Langbecker||Beijing LS LA Silla||39|
|8th||Lucy Evans||Viva Joy||35|
|9th||Stephanie Judd||Mukooras Juvenile||29|
|10th||Brooke Langbecker||Flowervale Diamond||26|
|12th||Tess McInerney||Alpha Centauri||22|
|13th||Sophie Smith||Bellhaven Jazz||22|
|15th||Jessie O’Connell||Cassis Z Ten Halven||20|
With torrential rain and thunderstorms threatening, the First Round of the Young Rider Championship was held on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, Jamie Priestley and Amaretto MVNZ were eliminated, which, given such a tight field, did her Triple Crown Series title aspirations considerable harm. With Amelia Douglass not competing and Jess Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross coming thirteenth, Erin Buswell and Quero Quero, were able to take full advantage by finishing second and taking the lead in the Triple Crown Race.
Only two combinations managed to record double clears in the final today and the fastest of these was Brooke Langbecker and Beijing LS La Silla, in her last ever ride as a Young Rider.
By virtue of finishing in third and second positions this weekend Jamie Priestley and Kolora Stud Optimus took out the Willinga Park Young Rider title. However, the overall Triple Crown Series Young Rider Champion was Erin Buswell and Quero Quero, who took away the $1,000 first prize. Second place in the Series was Jess Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross who take home $500.