The first leg of the year-long Eventing Super League takes place at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre near Taupo this weekend, with the dressage and showjumping on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday.
The Total Industrial Solutions CIC3* class has attracted a field of eight, most of whom had an early season run at Hastings last weekend.
Campbell Draper, Putaruru, on Mr Mancini, winners of last year's Equestrian Entries Pro-Am series, had a comfortable win at Hastings, ahead of Samantha Felton, Matangi, in second and third place on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo and Ricker Ridge Escada.
They then headed home for a few hours' sleep before flying out of Auckland for an Australian build up to the Adelaide CCI4* in November.
Diane Gilder, also from Matangi, filled fourth place with her Australian thoroughbred, Your Attorney, returning from time out due to injury. Donna Edwards-Smith, Waerenga, was fifth on the diminutive palomino, DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, who led after the dressage but cruised carefully around the cross-country, as most did, collecting a fistful of time penalties.
Local hope Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding, the NRM National Three-day Event title holders, were eliminated in the dressage phase after a dramatic show of resistance by the horse, who is obviously over excited to be out competing again. Needless to say much interest will focus on them as they return to the scene of their big win.
The winner of last year's Super League, Katharine Van Tuyl, Woodville, on Double J Sunshine, who was also planning to contest the Adelaide CCI4*, has had to put her plans on hold as "Sunny" has suffered an injury in his preparation, and will not be out this season. However, he is young to be competing at this level so has time on his side. According to Van Tuyl: "He will be back!"
Andy Daines, Kumeu, is another heading across the Tasman to do the Adelaide 4* with Spring Panorama, who he bought as a youngster while working in England. They will be hoping for a good run at Taupo to kick off their campaign. Spring Panorama is by Porter Rhodes (USA) who stood at Seattle Lodge in New Zealand before being sold to stand in Ireland.