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News from Vicki

16 December 2010

Good to hear that on the Sunday of Sydney Jump Club Ch'ships Alison Rowland won the Grand Prix on her super mare Bickley Brook Bella owned by Peter Cooke, and sired by Errol...

Sydney Summer Classic was again a wonderful show, with fabulous tracks being produced by the ever passionate Venezuelen Leopoldo Palacious, who in a talk to a show function on Thursday night, spoke of how his career really started with being granted the tasks of the Olympic tracks for Sydney 2000, so SIEC is very special to him.  His main issue again this year was trying to make the ever troublesome footing as good as it could be.  The sand that is on it now dries out very quickly, so those at the end of a class are at a distinct disadvantage as it becomes more dry, deep and shifting.  Leopoldo spent some time with John Vallance, Venue Manager Mark Fulcher, and a few of us riders to test footing by having woodchips mixed with the sand, which we tried on a section of the practice ring.  This proved to be far superior to the existing sand when I rode Kurt on it for 10 minutes or so.  Leopoldo insisted on making about a 1.50 vertical, scarey, but Kurt sailed over it, then I insisted they put it down(!) to about 1.20, so I could practice turning on it to a fence.  For me, a crucial test, as a rider needs to be able to trust the footing when pushing out of a corner to turn up to a fence in a jump off.  It passed with flying colours, and also will have better water retaining qualities as the wood component stays wetter much longer than the sand. With some luck, this footing maybe there for next year's event.

All horses jumped well with Benny being 5th in the Young Rider Final on Willy, and getting a bunch of placings in the second ring on Nikki.  Sophie had her second competition rides since Easter (first being Sat of Sydney Jump Club) on Jane, and by Day 3 were getting their combined acts together for a lovely double clear.  James was 3rd in the Junior Final on Todd, and won and placed in the second ring on his other horses. Steph was great on her 2, with a super round in her big ring debut on the diminuitive Cy, who looked even smaller in the giant ring! Casino jumped great all weekend, with just 1 rail down for the weekend, unfortunately in the Futurity Qualifier, where he just touched an oxer, but that put him out of the Final, but he was double clear and 6th in the Alan Hodge Memorial class, which had 80 odd in it, and was won by S.A rider Anthony Thomas and Incrediboy.  Kurt also great , and 7th in the Futurity Final to Jamie Kermond and the Indoctro gelding Lincoln.  I took 7th as a good omen, as that's where Apache finished when he was in the Futurity at Wentworth Park in about 1986!  Kenny also a good boy, 5th in the first 1.40 class, then a bit of a worried stop in the 1.45 class the next day.  We still have a few repair/confidence issues to resolve, and he was not fond of the shifty footing.  In the World Cup, he was great for 2 down in the first round, both my fault, which qualified him for the second round.  First round had not been too tough, but the second round was very serious!  Clear til the 6th fence, the Dragon vertical, and he got scared, so it will be back to the drawing board, and a few easier classes again.  I am delighted that he is soooo scopey and careful, but there are still confidence issues that he came with when I bought him, as he was very cheap compared to most in the World Cup field!  And it was great that he had come back to the top level so quickly since he has been out here, as he was only doing 1.20 classes when I bought him in Europe.

Kenny and Vicki

Oh dear... I think Kenny has his eyes shut!!

Kurt and Vicki

Kurt being awesome in the Futurity Final.

Thanks to Chrissie Johnson /Brandon Beneke for the photos.

Great win for Brook Dobbin in the World Cup, who has always been a super rider lacking a good horse of late, and is still improving.  Advisor came to Brook from Kristy Bruhn, who had found him difficult enough, and Kristy is no slouch as a jockey!  But Brook has taken the horse to a whole new level, and hopefully can go all the way with him.  Billy Raymont is another who is just an awesome jockey.  Nicalette looks to be at her limit, yet Billy seems to scrape every little bit of scope out of her, and Stardom has had injury problems, and is not quite the horse he was, but again, Billy got the very best performance from him to run 2nd.  But the other outstanding rider of the weekend was Tom Mc Dermott who capped of a fantastic year with the Young Rider Ch'ship.  Tom has an amazing feel for jumping riding for one of such tender years, and won the Young Rider Ch'sip by nearly 6 seconds in the jump off on Twins Limerick.  So the future is looking very bright with these talented guys really pushing us older ones off our perches!

Short break now, and Casino is undertaking his stud duties.  It is like having Errol around again, he is such a good stallion to handle and deal with, as he has such an impeccable temprament.  Then in the New yEar we will be gearing up for George Morris and a few more nice shows.  Many, many thanks to all my great owners, students and assistants who have really made my job easy this year, roll on 2011.  I may not be riding as many as I have in the past, but having fun with the ones I do ride, and luckily have had Ben Blay to do such a fantastic job on the rest!

Have a great Christmas and New Year...

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