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News from Vicki

29 April 2007

Wow! What a busy few weeks. 3 horses at a Royal is comfortable, but 4 is quite hard work (although I rode 5 one year, whew, that was tough..). Then when Jess, my excellent groom of the last 12 months, and I had a parting of ways 1/3 of the way through the show, things got a lot tougher!  Fortunately, Tania Ives, on and off employee but long time pal, was around to help out. And huge thanks to Becky Allen, who was a great help at the warm up and for morning feeding, as well as Greer and Danni Butcher, Jamie Winning and Ashleigh Nordish. Thanks girls!
 
Show was longer this year, and I think the horses felt that (I certainly did). It's quite tough on my guys who are used to their lush, green paddocks and more natural lifestyle to be penned up in stables with artificial lighting for all but 6 hours of the day. As everything else at the show was great, the footing absolutely superb, and as always, Graeme Watts' tracks were consistently of a high standard, despite often having not a lot of room. RICCI was my only winner, taking out the Mini Prix with the only double clear, while IRISH and JANE collected an awful lot of yellow ribbons, better than green, or none at all, but frustrating in that they were jumping great, but always marred by a simple, dumb mistake from their jockey! Lucky one has a long time in this sport, 'cos you need it to learn how to do it properly! BLA and I still on a learning curve, with her jumping some super rounds, in spite of trying to figure out what I was doing half the time. Big, culture change for her when she has only had one rider jump her all her life until now. But she is trying so hard.. Queenslanders had a great show, showing the benefit of their wonderful circuit of high quality shows up there now. Merrick Ubank, quiet, unassuming guy that he is, took out Leading Rider, and Leading Horse, primarily after winning 3 out of the 5 Part 2 classes on the wonderful thoroughbred, DOVER STREET. VIVANT and Chuggy looked to have a stranglehold on Part 1 when winning the first 2 classes, but then a warm up prang caused VIVANT to lose form. Rod, on his last show on MR BURNS, who has now been sold to Hong Kong rider Jennifer Lee, was a winner, as was Peter Mc Mahon and GENOA, and Laurie Lever on ASHLEIGH DROSSEL DAN. Part 3 saw some exciting young horses with Colleen Brook and another thoroughbred POET'S CORNER dominating. Other winners were Michael Lucas and MR DARCY and Billy Raymont and AMPOLA .Clive Reed's KINNORDY SERENA looked great, as did Lachlan Manuel on ODYSSEY PARK ORTHODOX, and Greer Butcher did a great job on the sometimes feisty FLOWERVALE CONCORDE. My purchase for Julia Hargreaves, COPABELLA COURCHEVEL, was as always, an angel for her, and featured regularly in the placings.
 
The World Cup was a bit softer than usual, being an off year for World games or Olympics, but that is taking nothing away from the winner WIRRAGULLA NIKLAUS and Paul Athanasoff, who jumped 2 great rounds only marred by 1 time fault, to win from another Aussie bred warmblood, ASHLEIGH DROSSEL DAN.
 
The result was reversed the following weekend at the Copabella Classic, when Laurie triumphed over Paul in the Grand Prix jump off, so was able to drive back to Victoria a happy man with the $3,000 cheque in his pocket! Must have been because Laurie and his 2 horses spent the week at our place. Something in the air (or the grass) here! John Vallance built great tracks, not too tough after a gruelling Royal. Superstar RICCI won the Mini Prix, Emily Blinkworth on ROLEX the Young Rider Final, and Queenslander Tom Sedger, son of previous Sydney sider Graeme Sedger, the Junior Final on LL GIFT.
 
So the good guys IRISH, JANE and RICCI get to go on holiday now while we play around with some young ones, and I'll also tinker with BLA to develop our relationship. Happily at Sydney she showed me that she has well and truly international scope and power, reminiscent of LUNA LUNA, now she just has to learn how to figure me out, and vice versa. Keen for Wayne to get back from Kentucky and Badminton, so I can pick his brain a bit more!

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