Master horseman John Cottle and his grey stallion Telegraph left a fine field of horses in their wake in the 1.4m jump on the opening day of the Poverty Bay A and P Show in Gisborne yesterday.
The Clevedon combination jumped a stunning clear round to take the honours, with current horse of the year Vita Power Swinger and his rider Simon Wilson of Waipukurau seven seconds slower in the jumpoff.
There were 13 starters in the class, many of whom will have been using it as a warmup for the grand prix tomorrow. Cottle and 11-year-old Telegraph, who were longlisted for the Athens Olympics, really started to click at the end of last season, and have continued their form.
"If he keeps going like this we are thinking of taking him to Europe next year and then on to the world championships in Aachen in 2006," Cottle said.
The combination has already won two grand prix classes this season.
Cottle also has two French imported horses at the show, and the New Zealand six-year-old champion Kool Bananas.
In the main pony class of the day, Tauranga's Lucy Olphert and Sanscrit were the only combination of four in the jumpoff to go double clear.
In the main showhunter class, Gisborne's Merran Hain and Tregonning took out the open horse 1.1m, with Waipukurau's Claire Wilson, on Vita Power Impact Player, second.
Conditions were windy but warm and the grounds at the show, which continues until tomorrow, in near perfect condition. The show has attracted near record entry numbers, with 1860 combinations competing.
Many of the riders in Gisborne are expected to compete at the Hawke's Bay A and P Show, starting on Wednesday next week and finishing on Friday.
The Hawke's Bay event often draws many of the country's top riders.
Results from the Poverty Bay A and P show in Gisborne yesterday: Showjumping, open horse 1.4m: John Cottle (Clevedon) Telegraph 1, Simon Wilson (Waipukarau) Vita Power Swinger 2, Ken Gumbley (Hastings) Legz) 3, Jason Ellmers (Cambridge) Casual 4. Open pony 1.15m: Lucy Olphert (Tauranga) Sanscrit 1, Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Zing 2, Penny Parker (Gisborne) Dancing Bear and Stephanie Winter (Tauranga) Perios Fade 2 Grey 3. Showhunters, open horse 1.1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Tregonning 1, Claire Wilson (Waipukarau) Vita Power Impact Player 2, Karen Riddle (Taupo) Sir William Wallace 3, Caroline Parkes (Gisborne) Irish Descent 4.
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