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News from Vicki

16 December 2009

The Iss Tempo Show at SIEC, as always, was a show of the highest quality, thanks to the hard work of the organizers John Vallance and Jane Frankum, and their great back up crew, Kerrie Winning, Sue Hartog, and Ring 2 managers Jane Robinson and Edwena Mitchell, plus so many others that make a show like this tick.  But the input of Leopoldo Palacious is fantastic.  To have a Course Designer of his standing happy to come out year after year (7 in total now) to give us a taste of international standards is great.  So huge, grateful thanks to major sponsor  Iss Tempo through their CEO Charles Blinkworth for making this all happen.

We had a great show, albeit a busy one, as we had 11 horses stabled there.  My team of 4 was not the strongest I ever had for this standard of show, but they all jumped their socks off, particularly long time owner Robynne McTaggert's stallion Noblewood Park Cougar, who really handled Leopoldos' technical tracks well to be clear in both the 1.20 and the Futurity Qualifier on the first day, then jumped the only clear round in the Futurity final in a really classy field to win that over a track that had an open water, and seriously difficult lines.  I gave him no help at all, and rode atrociously, but he was wonderful.  The Mini Prix the next day was the toughest track I had seen for a Mini Prix in a long time.  Leopoldo commented later that it was tougher than his Grand Prix track later that day!  So I wasn't sure whether I should start him, but he warmed up well, and fortunately I rode him a lot better, and he had just 1 fence down (ironically the Winning Appliances oxer; Winning Appliances had sponsored the Futurity!), to run 5th, as there were only 3 clear rounds, well done Cathy Graham and Davinci's Pride, who blitzed the field.  Willy was placed in the 1.20, and was great.  Puma was just a legend, not one rail touched in 4 days of competition, and 11 rounds!  So his stable ended up decorated with quite a few ribbons.  Ash was also not to be outdone, and only dropped 2 rails from rider error in the jump offs of 2 of the classes.

Kids great.  Sophie had good and bad times in the big arena, but ended up super with a great 3rd placing in the Super Junior Final on Jane to Tom McDermott on Saskatoon and Olivia Hamood on Bucks Bunny.  Levi just had 1 unlucky rail in the Final.  Lee and Puzzle blitzed their classes in Ring 2 with a win, a 2nd and a bunch of other placings.  Carrie had her first ride in the big arena on Sam, and acquitted themselves well, and jumped some lovely clear rounds in other classes.  Tarryn and Favourite continue to cement their relationship, now getting more confident together, and jumped clear in most classes.  Lizzy Hewitt rode George Sheridan's The Dark Horse for some lovely rounds, Blackie's experience compensating for Lizzy's lack of it, and giving her good ring experience and confidence; it was great to see her riding improve with every round.  Nicci and Monty had a great start with clear rounds and placings, but their combined greenness (is there such a word?) saw the wheels fall off a bit, and poor Monty had to be subjected to me insisting that, yes, he did have to go straight, stay in front of my leg into my hand, and that's how we jump!  So we will be working on Nicci developing more of those skills in the next few months.

The Grand Prix track was big and straightforward, and Chris Chugg gave a consumate riding display to jump the only double clear round on Vivant, making the track look a walk in the park.  He emphasized his dominance with 2nd place on his younger stallion Conquistador, with Paul Athanasoff riding beautifully on the other lovely stallion Wirragulla Nicholas being a touch unlucky to have one down in each round to run 3rd.  Clem Smith showed that he really is the most underrated rider in the country with 4th placing on the Neville Rose bred Dark Ages, a horse with a big heart, but not quite the power for these tracks, but Clem rode tactfully and accurately.

So now a bit of a break for the nice horses, and then gear up for George Morris in January.  In the meantime, Koko, a lovely mare by Gengis Khan bred by Jo Anderson decided, after being 8 1/2 weeks overdue, to produce a stunning Errol colt foal while we were at SIEC.  It is her first baby, and she is a super mother, as he is keeping her busy running all over the place..

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