Katie McVean showed it's all in the breeding when it comes to super jumpers winning the latest round of the Bayer FEI World Cup New Zealand Series.
Her win on Dunstan Delilah - a first for the eight-year-old bay - was the third home-bred horse out of her father's top jumper Flower Power to win a World Cup round at the Larsen Sawmilling Equestrian Championships in Gisborne.
The combination had four faults in the first round and were more than a little lucky not to add another rail to the tally after a nudging on a couple other jumps, but they jumped a stunning clear in the second to take the honours.
She knew if she took a sneaky inside turn between the third and fourth fences in the second round, she'd be able to slice seconds off the fastest time to date in the round, which had been set by Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) aboard Ombudsman, who ended up second.
"It was a nice course out there," she said of the Gary Sinclair [Wellington] designed course.
"It wasn't as big and tough as some of the others, but was good to ride."
McVean says Delilah doesn't like to go too fast, as it's likely to rattle the youngster.
"I have to keep her relaxed - it is only her first year at this level."
It's a completely different story with Dunston Zimorena G, on whom she finished third. "She loves going fast - the more I push her, the higher she jumps."
The nine-year-old European import arrived in New Zealand as an unbroken "feral red head" five-year-old. But McVean was purring after her efforts today.
The combination rode the second round like they owned it, adding nothing to the eight faults they had picked up in the opener.
Dee gave it his all, too, and almost pulled off the win of his career after notching a brilliant clear in the second round, but had to settle for the blue ribbon when McVean stopped the clock nearly four seconds faster than him.
But the 19-year-old was rapt to finish the two challenging rounds with just four faults.
"It was a good challenging course and I am very happy with him," he said of his 12-year-old horse. "He's performing well and it's great to be heading to the Horse of the Year Show in that kind of form."
Both McVean and Dee will compete in Tauranga on Thursday evening in the World Cup series final.
In the pony grand prix, Melanie Weal (Te Awamutu) notched her 75th win aboard Hopeful Illusion - their 23rd in the pony grand prix division.
The 16-year-old headed off 15 other combinations to take the class. Joining Weal in the jump-off were Will Moffatt (Napier) on Tane Mahuta, Elmo Jackson (Auckland) on Mahoe Moon Frost and Madison Bult (Auckland) on Mr Black Magic.
Jackson, the second to go in the jump-off, looked to have done enough when he came home clear in 40.76, but Weal and her zippy little Appaloosa found another gear and stopped the clock at 36.66.
Bult was third with four faults in 38.79.