Story by Diana Dobson
It promised to be a battle of the ladies in the Bayer FEI World Cup final (NZ series) and Katie McVean and Samantha McIntosh didn't disappoint at Woodhill Sands this afternoon.
McVean – a three time series winner – won the final aboard Dunstan Springfield, with McIntosh taking the series at the Waitemata World Cup Final Festival.
Eleven started the prestigious class, with just three going clear in the first round – McVean on Dunstan Springfield, McIntosh on Estina (owned by Lakeridge Equestrian) and Logan Massie on Kiwi Ludo (owned by Annette Scott and Massie).
Eight came back for the second round over the Gerrit Beker-designed course, in which McVean was the only one to leave everything up for the double clear and victory. She and the big rangy chestnut won the penultimate round last weekend in horrible gusty conditions, and made short work of a big and challenging course today.
"He was just awesome," said McVean of the horse who is known as Bart at home, and was one she had to be convinced to take from breeder Sarah Milne. "He was pretty ugly as a baby." But he has grown into a star and his win today was just his third world cup start. "I have been very careful with him. He is still only young and has heaps of jump in him."
McVean was also third on Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark (owned by June Berrington), a horse who is surely due for a good luck turn. "I went fast in the second round with him to put the pressure on the others and he had an unlucky rail . . . one day it will all come together for him I am sure! He jumped 95% of the course awesome!"
Meanwhile series winner McIntosh was just as pleased with the efforts of her two horses, despite opting not to bring back Argento back for the second round. "I wanted to concentrate on Estina, and it proved the right thing to do," she said.
Throughout the six rounds, McIntosh and her horses haven't finished worse than fourth. All but one set of the points came from Estina, a mare who has grown into herself this season. "She is just so much more settled and is working with me a lot more . . . it all takes time."
McIntosh rode at the 2000 world final in Las Vegas for Bulgaria and finished 13th. She had won the Central European League and took Royal Discovery to the United States for the final. "It was a great experience."
To win the New Zealand series is very special to this full time rider. "I didn't set out thinking I could win the series, but the further we got, the more it became another goal for me."
She was full of praise for the course and the grounds at the show today. "It's been a fantastic show," she said.
Bayer FEI World Cup (NZ series) final: 1. Katie McVean - Dunstan Springfield, 2. Samantha McIntosh - Estina, 3. Katie McVean - Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark, 4. Luke Dee - Ombudsman, 5. Logan Massie - Kiwi Ludo, 6. Jono Smith - SP Vision.
Bayer FEI World Cup Series (best four rounds): 1. Samantha McIntosh 87 points, 2. Katie McVean 78 points, 3. Susie Hayward 67 points, 4. Maurice Beatson 65 points, 5. Luke Dee 64 points, 6. Jono Smith 41 points, 7. Jake Lambert 34 points, 8. Logan Massie 33 points, 9. Melody Matheson 15 points, 10. Erin Clark 14 points.
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