Cantabrian Harry Feast made sure he had something to show for the 15-hour trek to the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings yesterday.
Feast won the IRT Horse 1.40m showjumping class aboard Double J Bouncer.
Sixty-three combinations lined up for the first class in the premier jumping arena, used by many riders as a warm up for the bigger and more prestigious jumping to come in the Land Rover-sponsored show at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds.
Eight of them returned for the jump off in fine and windy conditions after jumping clear in the first round with Feast the best of the bunch with a second clear round in 50.88 seconds.
Australian Clint Beresford produced the only other clear in the jump off but he and horse Emmaville Jitterbug weren't fast enough to catch Feast.
Young Taupo rider Briar Burnett-Grant proved she's one to watch this year with the excitable Fiber Fresh Veroana coming home as the fastest four-faulter in the jump off.
She was followed by Northland's Amanda Wilson of Keeping Up With the Kaimanawas fame riding Showtym Cassanova in fourth place as best of the eight faulters.
Feast was one of several South Island riders eager to show they didn't come to Hastings with the aim of making up the numbers.
Others included the Canterbury team of Grace Manera, Rosa Buist-Brown and Holly Crean in the Saba Sam Shield pony area teams event.
Named after the iconic mount of Graeme Hansen, the Saba Sam Shield was donated in 1971 when Hansen decided an incentive was needed to prepare young riders for teams events ahead of them.
Saba Sam himself was repurposed as a showjumper after a disappointing racing career and together with Hansen represented New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
The Otago-Southland team of Ella Wylie, Noah Coutts, Jordan van Miltenburg and Pippa Collins continued the South Island domination theme yesterday by coming second.
The first class in the premier dressage arena, the Donut Express Level 5 5C, was taken out by Taranaki's Vanessa Way and NSC Pronto with a score of 69.9%.
With good weather expected for the remainder of the week there will be plenty of excitement leading into the weekend.
Hospitality ticket sales have been tracking well with the expectation of selling out of several of the speciality events including the Friday night Fish 'n' Chips evening and the Cross Country Brunch on Saturday.