The pressure will be on for top Kiwi riders to make their mark in the FEI Bayer World Cup NZ League which heads into its fifth round at the Central and Southern Hawke's Bay Jumping Show at Dannevirke tomorrow.
Hometown favourite and former series winner Maurice Beatson has won three of the four rounds so far, and has My Gollywog and Schimmel Warrior entered. He's got a bit of an edge on the series leaderboard, sitting on 42 points to the second-placed Bernard Denton (Feilding) who has 37 points.
Denton is also entered on his lovely little chestnut mare Horsesports Suzuki and will be hungry for those valuable points.
Hawera farrier Tim Myers, who won the last round just before Christmas, will be looking for a repeat performance from Pick Me NZPH, in just their third world cup start.
Three-time series winner Katie McVean has Dunstan Springfield and Dunstan Delilah - both are relatively new to this top level, but are showing their bloodlines and training are gold.
Also entered is South Islander Ross Smith and his stunning imported stallion Quite Cassini, former series winner Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) and Swinger, former Lady Rider of the Year Lucy Akers (Opiki) aboard her quirky Cortaflex Tinapai, and rising young star Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) and Ombudsman.
All combinations will be tested by designer Kevin Hansen (Hawke's Bay). With just three rounds left in the league after Dannevirke, and only the best four rounds to count, there is plenty of pressure on to do well.
The final is in Tauranga in late January, and the winner of the series has the opportunity to travel to Sweden to represent New Zealand in the world final in April.
There's a little history being created at the Dannevirke show, which will see the world cup class as the first in the world to use the new FEI online entry system. The system, being co-ordinated through Equestrian Sports New Zealand, has been designed to improve the automation and exchange of data between the national and international bodies.
The three-day, three-star show has attracted 374 horses and riders from Canterbury in the south and Auckland in the north.
As well as the prestigious world cup class, most of the national series also have classes throughout the show.
FEI Bayer World Cup NZ League leaderboard (after four rounds): Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 42 points, Bernard Denton (Feilding) 37, Ross Smith (Canterbury) 24, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) and Tim Myers (Hawera) 22, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) 17, Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) 15, Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) and Lucy Akers (Opiki) 12.