Maurice Beatson has topped off a stellar season with the ultimate win in Hastings yesterday at the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show.
The 59-year-old Dannevirke farmer rode his 18-year-old home-bred horse My Golliwog to victory in the $200,000 JB Olympic Cup.
It's not the first time the former Olympian and World Games representative has won the Olympic Cup but it is 30 years since he first won.
A record-sized field started the cup on the final day of the week-long Horse of the Year Show at the Hawkes Bay Showgrounds. The 28-strong field included 15 Australian combinations, keen to take New Zealand's most prestigious trophy back across the Tasman.
Jamie Kermond (Australia) on Yandoo Laughton's Legacy was second.
Beatson last won the cup in 1991, and three previous times. He's been carefully managing My Golliwog this season, focusing on the World Cup series, which he won, and the Horse of the Year Show.
It paid dividends.
"He felt the best today as ever in his life," said an ecstatic Beatson. "I just had to get out and do my job."
He admitted that Golliwog - by Ironclad and out of a trotting mare - was not the easiest ride and just yesterday morning had tried to buck him off.
Missing from the line-up was four- time Olympic Cup winner Katie McVean, who was without her star Dunstan Daffodil and started two youngsters in the class.