Eventing legend Mark Todd rode away with the top honours at last weekend’s Equestrian in the Park, on board his catch ride off-the-track Thoroughbred The Diamond Thief. The 8-year-old gelding, owned by Kate Joyce, wasn’t the most experienced of Mark’s rides, but under his expert guidance came out to give two fast and flawless rounds over the challenging course to secure the win and the brand new Ford SUV.
Of the event, Mark was hugely impressed by the course and atmosphere. “When you get invited to an event like this, you never quite know what to expect, but I can promise you that it far exceeded any expectation that I had,” he said. “I can honestly say this is one of the most special, spectacular events of its type anywhere in the world.”
The elite Grand Prix eventing competition, held on the riverbanks of Perth’s inner-city, proved to be an electric atmosphere with a crowd of 3,500 people. This, combined with the challenging course designed by Alan Campbell and the competitive field made up of Olympians and top local riders, made for an adrenaline-filled day of equestrian sport. The weather was just what was ordered, sunshine without too much sting that was kind on the horses and the all of those who were frocked up in their finest.
The top five placegetters were decided by a fast-paced jump off which was a new addition to the format this year, and while Mark Todd led from Round 1, the placings saw some changes. The water complex was an influential line, made up of a wavy board show jump heading down into the water, which not only caused trouble throughout the day, but proved unforgiving in a jump off where tighter lines were taken. This was not so for Mark Todd and Kirsten Twining however, who both jumped clear, meaning it all came down to the clock, with Mark storming into first on a blistering time to win by four and a half seconds.
Grand Prix class results:
Rider / Horse / Awards / Prize-Voucher
1. Mark Todd / The Diamond Thief / Highest Placed OTTB / Ford Eco Sport — $29,900
2. Kirsten Twining / Newhope Sparks Fly / 2nd Highest Placed OTTB / Solar Gain Voucher — $7,500
3. Emily Gray / Jocular Vision / Highest Placed Warmblood / Bates Voucher — $5,200
4. Michael Dagostino / Kinnordy Gatow / Kentaur Voucher — $4,500
5. Lucy Atty / A Bit Taboo / Southern Stars — $3,400
6. Kate Ingham / Asti Aspirations / Saddles Plus – $1,900
7. Emily Gray / Rio Tonto / Jump for Joy – $1,300
8. Kirsten Twining / Max Almighty / Ovarit Jumps — $800
9. Sophie Warren / Hazid Road / Milne Feeds — $600
10. Mia Mercuri / ESB Irish Nymph / Highest placed Junior / Saddles Plus — $500
Thoroughbreds shone again in the 105cm Diamond Class, making up half of the horses in the 40 strong field, which was taken out by Olivia Shore on her own off-track Thoroughbred Eliva Massimo.
Olivia, who is 15 years old, not only won herself her first car, but was awarded the highest placed junior and the award for best performed Off the Track horse. In addition to her win, she placed 8th on Legal Star, who had previously won the Grand Prix event and Adelaide 4* with owner Jess Manson.
She also overcame some tough competition from Australian Olympian Sam Griffiths, who took out 3rd and 10th place on two of his rides for the weekend. There were many tricky lines in the class, with tight cross country doubles jumping towards the crowds, and the wavy boards into the water still proving troublesome, making a clear round tough to achieve.
Diamond Class results:
Rider / Horse / Awards / Prize-Voucher
1. Olivia Shore / Eliva Massimo / Highest Placed OTTB & Highest Placed Junior / Ford Escape — $24,590
2. Michael Dagostino / TMP Razzle Dazzle / 2nd Highest Placed OTTB / Equissage Unit — $5,500
3. Sam Griffiths / Kendlestone Park Elite / 3rd Highest Placed OTTB / Horseland — $4,500
4. Kenya Wilson / Sandros Salute MW / Highest Placed Warmblood / Kentaur — $3,000
5. Emily Early / Clear Distinction / Bates Saddles — $2,500
6. Isabella Draper / Quality Street / Milne Feeds — $1,400
7. Riley Lyall / GI Warzone / Thompson Redwood – $900
8. Olivia Shore / Legal Star / Ovarit Jumps — $800
9. Emma Cumming / Just Reilly / Thompson & Redwood — $500
10. Sam Griffiths & Holy Roller / Horseland — $500
More pics from the eventing classes:
In addition to the brilliant eventing action, the day saw the running of the Inaugural West Coast Vets Showjumping Classic, a 125cm class, which showcased some of Western Australia’s best jumping riders and horses. In a thrilling second round, it was Rebecca Donovan who took out the major cash prize on her super mare Carpina.
West Coast Vets Showjumping Classic results:
Rider / Horse / Prize-Voucher
1. Rebecca Donovan / Carpina / $2250 Cash, $750 West Coast Vets Voucher
2. Debbi Greenwood / Permission / $1,000 + $500 Voucher
3. Shawn Squire / Maxi Mouse / $500 + $250 Voucher
4 . Sammi Lamont / Glenwood Park Vatu / $250 + $250 Vouchers
5. Stef Tucker / Oaks Zena / $150 + $250 Voucher
To have an event of this calibre in Australia is a testament to the strength of eventing and the people that support it. Both Mark Todd and Sam Griffiths were hugely impressed by Western Australia’s close-knit, strong and supportive eventing community, something which is integral to the development and success of its riders. Equestrian in the Park, with the high standard of riders it attracts, the spectacular location and the incredible prizes on offer, is fast becoming one of the most exciting events of its kind anywhere in the world.