Dapto this year will be remembered for the return of the heatwave and the number of crashing falls!! Friday was pretty pleasant weather wise, but quite a few of us, Grant Hughes, Chuggy, Shelley Kelly (twice), Greer Butcher and yours truly bit the dust, some in more spectacular form than others (mine was particularly boring...). Fortunately no horses appeared to be injured. Grant looked like he had gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson after a spectacular tip up when YAKKITY YAK slipped coming into the treble in the A and B grade, and picked off from nowhere while Grant was trying to reorganize a distance, and Chugg was pretty lame after being totally spat when Grand Invader put in some Chainsaw like bucks at the practice fence..!! Shelley, Greer and I just did elegant forward somersaults when our mounts decided we should jump the fences without them...
Regrettably on Saturday, Jenny Sheppard and Ryan Tyrell were carted off to hospital, Jenny having been chucked into a wing having a cut in the B Grade jump off on LICARA R (she still finished 3rd), but has broken her hip. Ryan had a tip up in the A Grade on the veteran WIRRAGULLA HAMLET, and held up proceedings for an hour or so while the ambulance was called. He reappeared later that afternoon to watch the World Cup, a little stiff, but in better shape than Jenny.
While Bob Prichards' courses were fine, the practice facilities were very sub standard and the ground, normally magnificent at this venue, was quite firm, so did affect the standard of jumping.
But the World Cup class was of a very good standard, part of the reason being is that we are allowed to warm up on the other half of the arena, with plenty of room, and half decent footing, as opposed to the cramped conditions of the outside practice. And nothing can be taken away from the efforts of the top two horses, VIVANT and MR BURNS, who jumped off in a third round after both incurred just 1 time fault. The 9 year old stallion VIVANT, ridden as always in superlative fashion by Chris was clear 2 seconds quicker than Rod and MR BURNS, also clear and belying both their veteran status'! 3rd to SHARP SEAL and David Robertson, so plenty of grey hair amongst the top 3 jockeys, 4th to WIRRAGULLA NICHOLAS and Paul Asthanasoff, which ensured his 2nd place overall in the League, just pipping Paula Hamood and NV CAPONE, who were 7th today. 5th to my lovely ELIZA JANE, who drawn first to go, popped around the 1.45/1.50 track like it was 1.20, but rider error caused the last fence to fall, and 1 time fault. A fabulous clear in the 2nd round, with just time faults, saw her come up 3 places from the first round, to be equal with WIRRAGULLA NICHOLAS, with time on the first round splitting our placings. 6th was overall League winner, 'comeback kid' Gavin Chester on the stallion WARLORD, who is now Las Vegas bound. 8th was Becky Allen on the very promising KOYUNA TED.
Special mention must be made of Danni Butcher, of whom I am so proud, as she completed her first ever World Cup (Danni and Greer are both 17) on her wonderful mare, HP LANDSONG. 2 rails down in the first round, and a slight blonde moment caused 5 time faults. 2nd round saw more blondeness, as the big occasion overcame her a little, and she jumped the wrong fence when 3 from home! However she rode extremely well on this auspicious occasion, and is on track for a great future, especially after a great 4th placing in the A and B Grade on the first day, also won by VIVANT. My little RICARDO was also his legendary self in winning the A Grade Championship. Just graduated from Young Rider ranks, Jamie Grant won the B Grade Championship on THE PLAYER.
Now it's back to more mundane things, with coaching in SA and Victoria from Thursday to Sunday, and preparation for our National meetings the week after.