Winning a premier league anywhere is cause for celebration, but when it's also your 200th grand prix showjumping victory, it's time to get the good champagne out.
Hawke's Bay's 1988 Olympian Maurice Beatson did just that yesterday aboard his lovely chestnut mare Gold Locks, taking out a small but competitive field at the Jumping Wairarapa Showjumping and Show Hunter Championships in Masterton.
It is somewhat fitting that Beatson, 66, won his first grand prix in 1982 aboard the now famous Nationwide, not far from yesterday's victory at the Wairarapa A&P Show. Yesterday, he and 9-year-old Gold Locks were the first of six combinations out over the Heather MacDonald-designed course.
No one else managed to leave everything up in the opener and all came back for the second round where Aucklander William Willis and Sabine MS were all clear but carried nine faults from their first round to take second. Beatson and Gold Locks had the first fence down in the second round, to finish on four. Aboard his second mount, Mandalay Cove, Beatson again had the first fence down but carried five from the opener to finish on nine faults in third place.
"Two hundred is pretty special," Beatson said.
He admitted he'd been chasing the tally since he notched 180 wins.
"I think I have won at least one grand prix every year since that 1982 win," Beatson quipped.
He had plenty of praise for his home-bred mare yesterday.
"I was hoping we'd be the only clear in that first round. I didn't think there would be many because it was a premier and definitely up to spec. That course was a good one. We'll certainly have some champagne to celebrate tonight."
In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix, five of the six entries went clear in the opening round, but just two kept their slates clean in the jump-off. Takapau's Samantha Carrington and Colours of Lansing were first out in the jump-off and went clear and fast, stopping the clock at 36.43 seconds for the win. A number of others chased it hard and while faster, they paid for their speed with rails.
Last to go was new combination Isabella Narracci of Hastings aboard Luke Myers' former pony Te Urewera Magic and they've already caught the eye of others as ones to watch. Narrcci was all clear in 38.51 seconds to take second place.
Taupō's Duncan McFarlane and Be Mine NZPH took the win in the FEI CSI1* 1.4m as the best of three combinations who went double clear, with Beatson and Mandalay Cove second.
FEI Level 2 designer MacDonald of Dannevirke was ably assisted by FEI Level 1 course designer Sarah Ching of Nelson. Both are being developed as World Cup designers for the future.
The championships attracted 380 combinations over the three days. Ground conditions at the Solway Showgrounds improved as the show rolled on.