Victory for Chris Chugg and PSS Levilensky in Tamworth World Cup
Chris Chugg and PSS Levilensky
The sixth event in the Australian World Cup Qualifying Series for 2019-20 was held this evening at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) in Tamworth, as the focal point of their World Cup Show. Sponsored by Carmyle Veterinary Services, the class provided wonderful entertainment for the appreciative crowd on a course built by one of Australia’s top course builders David Sheppard.
Despite the current series leader, Billy Raymont, not competing in this event, the field brought together seven of the current top ten ranked riders presenting a wonderful opportunity for those chasing Raymont to make up ground and challenge for the lead. With four riders within a win of the lead, a change of leader by the end of the night was certainly on the cards.
Due to an electrical storm, the start of the event was delayed by 45 minutes, which only served to increase the sense of anticipation around the arena. Eventually, the first combination on course, James Arkins and Rosthwaite Vigilante II appeared and the action was underway. The third combination out on course was local legend Ron Easey and Port O Call, who deserved the rapturous applause of the crowd when they were the first combination to record a clear round. Other clear rounds were delivered by Maddison Stephen and Yalambi’s Grazi, Clem Smith and Alite, David Cameron and Finch Farm Clifford, Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation and Series second placeholder Chris Chugg and PSS Levilensky.
World Cup Qualifier Class rules allow 12 combinations to be invited back for a second round. Of the nine 4-fault rounds, only the six quickest were able to continue in the competition. Those six combinations were Tom McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille, Clay Simmonds and Oaks Castanza, last year’s Series winner Aaron Hadlow and Vahlinvader, last year’s Tamworth qualifier winner, Kate Hinschen and Finch Farm Cadel, Brooke Langbecker and Quintago 1 and once again Tom McDermott and Alpha Activity. The unlucky 4 fault combinations to miss out were James Mooney and JB Evolution, Katie Laurie and Cera Caruso and Mathew Kidston and Calgary GNZ.
With all 12 Round Two participants within a single rail of the lead, we all knew the competition was going to be a tight one.
Round Two kicked off with Tom McDermott and Alpha Activity, who took a couple of rails to fall out of contention. Brooke Langbecker and Quintago 1 were next to go and unfortunately, they missed a fence to be eliminated.
Next out was the winner of last year’s event Kate Hinschen and Finch Farm Cadel. They did well, however a single rail added to their rail in Round One to finish on 8 penalties, which placed them in the lead for now. Aaron Hadlow and Vahlinvader rode a steady round, taking just a single rail, however, their time was slower than that recorded by Hinschen.
Winners of the Caboolture leg of the World Cup, Clay Simmonds and Oaks Castanza were next, however a further two rails to add to their 4 penalties from Round One, saw their chance of victory disappear.
Last of the 4-faulters in Round Two was Tom McDermott and Elegance De La Charmille, who after taking a rail, retired from the competition.
With the leader on 8 faults, the Round One clears had just a tiny bit of breathing space. First of these was former Western Australian Maddison Stephen and Yalambi’s Grazi. They took their first rail of the night to finish on four faults and sit in the lead for the time being.
The experienced Chris Chugg and his relatively young horse PSS Levilensky were next. They were the first combination to go double clear with a time of 64.37 seconds. Now the remaining four combinations were really feeling the pressure. To have a chance of winning, only a double clear would do.
The first to attempt to so were the WEG hero combination of Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation. They just about had the job done when the crowd’s collective hearts sank as Kermond took a rail at the last fence, to sit in second place with just three combinations to go.
Crowd favourite Ron Easey and Port O Call were next. They took a rail at the second fence which meant they could not win, however that was their only mistake and a time of 61.48 seconds placed them into fourth.
The second last combination out was David Cameron and Finch Farm Clifford. A great second round for this relatively new partnership, but a single rail cost them the chance of victory and a slower time meant no podium appearance for them.
So it came down to the last combination, with a fascinating scenario unfolding. The only double clear and leader was Chris Chugg, however he and PSS Levilensky had recorded the slowest time (by about 5 seconds) in Round Two. The only other combination who could win was Clem Smith and Alite, with Smith the current Australian Speed Champion. All Smith had to do was ride a clear round and his natural speed would almost certainly take him to victory, however, it was not to be. Smith and Alite took a rail at the second to hand Chugg the victory. Unfortunately for Smith, a further two rails towards the end of his ride, dropped them down to tenth place.
It was a very intelligent and calculating ride by Chugg. He and PSS Levilensky were the only combination to record double clear and were the deserved winners. Taking maximum points tonight means that Chugg is now leading the World Cup Qualifying Series.
At the presentation, Chugg spoke about the quality of PSS Levilensky. He thanked the committee and volunteers as well as praising the course designer. He also commented that he was hoping to take this horse to the World Cup finals next year.
Photo Credit: Oz Shotz Photography
We look forward to the next round of the Australian World Cup Qualifying series for 2019/20, to be held in Adelaide at the 3DE in five weeks time. Australian Jumping will bring you a report on the current Series standing after this round, as soon as they become available.
The full placings from this class are listed below:
|1st||Chris Chugg||PSS Levilensky|
|2nd||Jamie Kermond||Yandoo Oaks Constellation|
|3rd||Maddison Stephen||Yalambi’s Grazi|
|4th||Ron Easey||Port O Call|
|5th||David Cameron||Finch Farm Clifford|
|6th||Kate Hinschen||Finch Farm Cadel|
|8th||Tom McDermott||Alpha Activity|
|9th||Clay Simmonds||Oaks Castanza|
|11th||Brooke Langbecker||Quintago 1|
|12th||Tom McDermott||Elegance De La Charmille|