There were gasps from the capacity crowd as veteran showjumper Maurice Beatson took a tumble during his showjumping round at the Horse of the Year Show this evening.
Olympian Beatson from Dannevirke, on his mount Mandalay Cove, was competing in the New Zealand v Australia showjumping test match during the Houseware Silver Ferns Stakes, part of the Hastings Heart of Hawke's Bay Friday night Extravaganza at the Tomoana Showgrounds in Hastings.
The Silver Fern Stakes is the second biggest class of the show and often acts as a warm up for the Olympic Cup, while also giving younger riders a chance at a big title.
Beatson's horse Mandalay Cove took exception to the final jump, putting in a stop that unseated the 65-year-old rider and put paid to what was, up until then, a clear round.
Beatson recovered from his tumble to limp out of the arena, grass stained but unbowed.
Beatson lines up in the Premier Arena again tomorrow in the class 43, the Premiere Stakes on his 8-year-old homebred mare Gold Locks, while he and Mandalay Cove will feature again in the "big one", the Olympic Cup on Sunday, alongside his other top horse Argio.
Beatson is a five-times winner of the Olympic Cup and with two chances in this year's event is a firm favourite with the Hawke's Bay crowd, while other Bay contenders include Melody Matheson on Graffiti MH and Logan Massie on Intellect.
Friday's Silver Fern Stakes was ultimately won by Australia's Clint Beresford riding 13 year old gelding Emmaville Jitterbug.
Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug will also make a start in the Olympic Cup on Sunday,
The Horse of the Year Show started on Tuesday and continues until Sunday afternoon, with Saturday's highlight being the cross-country competition, and Sunday featuring the Olympic Cup and the freestyle grand prix dressage class.