The weekend before last saw two good Aggie shows in Camden, with jumping being principally organized by the efficient team of John Vallance and Jane Frankum, and Muswellbrook, jumping organized by Brian Collard. I hadn't been to Camden for years, but the M7 now makes all events west and south so much more accessible, so I took 3 over on the Friday. ELIZA JANE was an absolute superstar, and easily won both her classes, the B and C Grade (to turn her A Grade), and then the A and B Grade. This lovely mare has everything a rider wants, great ability, four good legs and a great attitude. Many thanks to breeder Sean Cooper for letting me purchase her just under 12 months ago! The weather was unbelievably hot and humid for this time of year, which made the long walk between the trucks and the ring pretty tough, but the footing was superb, and John's modern gear and tracks really great.
Saturday up to Muswellbrook. Still hot, but not quite so humid. Regrettably water restrictions meant that the ground in the ring was quite firm, but fortunately the warm up ring had been well rotovated, so the footing in there was fine. This, for sure is a better way to be, as one only spends about 2 or 3 minutes in the competition ring, but about 20 or so in the warm up! NOBLEWOOD PARK CASSINI'S GIRL continued in her unflappable way, and won both her classes. RICCI then won the 1.20, but ripped a shoe off in the process, then IRISH won the 1.30. NOBLEWOOD PARK BLATINI was 2nd in the 1.30, but was not travelling well in a new bit, so I felt it was back to the drawing board with her. Sue Bettington built great tracks at this show, with gear that is somewhat more rural than Camden's, but well supplemented with potplants!
Luckily ex husband Wayne was between trips this last week, and was able to be an enormous help with BLA, really getting her balance so much better, so she is becoming a lot more rideable. And it all happens with so little effort or any confrontation with Wayne. Just persistence, timing and talent.
So it was off to Sydney Jump Club this Sunday just to do some last fine tuning prior to the Royal Easter, where jumping starts this Friday. The grounds there are now in super order, and David Lawrence designed great tracks for those that were there. RICCI bounced around the 1.30 without any more flat tyres, BLA then jumped the best she's felt so far at 1.40, with some help there also from Rod Brown. And IRISH popped around 1.40, looking and spooking here and there, so he needed the outing.
Danni and Greer Butcher here also this week, getting a bit of fine tuning prior to Sydney, and Becky Allen will be under my wing over the show, hoping to keep on improving on her great performances at the recent NZ Horse of the Year Show. Sydney looks to have the strongest fields in all sections that they have had for some time, so it should be an interesting task for Graeme Watts to design courses to find his winners.