Day three of our championships was a massive day of competition with a total of 10 classes scheduled on the program. For the main part, classes were Round 2’s in either Championships or Series, giving many combinations their last chance to position themselves as well as possible, going into a weekend full of finals.

Proceedings on the Main arena got underway with the first round of the Equipe Australian Junior Championship. A massive start list of 59 combinations lined up to contest a Speed class, which gave the assembled audience some early morning thrills. Continuing the wonderful form of our Queensland visitors, the win, with a very fast round of 66.99 seconds and leaving all the rails up, were Cody Tincknell and CONQUEST. They were just over a second ahead of the second placed combination, Ella Hayward and mare EDENA DP. They scrapped in ahead of the third placed Jack Barker and TULARA FOR QUINAR who finished in a time of 68.56 seconds. It was a fantastic show put on by many of the best Junior riders in the country and we look forward to seeing what they can produce for us over the rest of the Junior Championship.

The next class on the main arena was the second round of the Sydney Jumping Association Ruby Series. As we have seen on at least one occasion previously during the show, it was an all-Queensland podium. Having finished Round 1 in second place, Olivia Hamood and YIRRKALA MISS DARCY went one better today, absolutely smashing the course, breaking the 70 second barrier, finishing in 69.80 seconds. Second place went to Carly Overton and her gelding PABELLO, with a time of 74.69 seconds. The third placegetters in Tuesday’s first round Olivia Hamood and YIRRKALA CASSEY replicated that effort today, taking 74.84 seconds to get around the course. Olivia Hamood and YIRRKALA MISS DARCY will go into Saturday’s final in the lead, carrying zero penalties.

This class was followed by the second round of the Orangeville Performance Horses Australian Young Rider Championship. With the competition held over a course with a time allowed of 76 seconds, which tested many of the combinations, it was a spell binding class. Some were able to complete the course quickly, while others were able to complete the course while leaving all the rails in place, however, there were only three combinations who were able to do both, necessitating an exciting jump off. Only one combination could complete the course clear again and that was the reigning Australian Young Rider Champion, Clemency Hughes, this year in combination with YPH CAPULET taking the win. In second place, with just a single rail in the jump off were Chase Naylor and MISTY BLUE EGO Z. Hayden Parker and TULARA SPANGENBURG took two rails in the jump off and had to settle for third place. We can look forward to what is likely to be a fantastic final, scheduled for Saturday.

The first two rounds of the Young Rider Championship also doubled up as an interstate teams competition. This year, the win went to the NSW team on a total of 9 penalties. As proof of their superiority, all members of the NSW team currently lie within the top 9 placings on the Young Rider Leaderboard.  Second place went to the Victorians who finished on a team total of 20 penalties, with the Queenslanders third on 46. It is a great initiative to get these young riders completing in a team environment, so they can gain experience should their careers advance towards the top of the sport. The placings and the team members were as follows:

1st    NSW – (9 penalties) Georgia Bouzaid and VITESS, Clemency Hughes and YPH CAPULET, Ella Silk and REDGUM CONAN and Annaliese Wansey and TEXAS. (Chef d’equip – Vicki Roycroft).
2nd   VIC – (20 penalties) Hayden Parker and TULARA SPANGENBERG, Tilley Fair and OAKS CONSTANTINO, Olivia Price and CHIO MS and Jack Barker and TULARA COLCHIC.

3rd    QLD – (46 penalties) Fuschia Criss and DUAL DIAMOND, Chase Naylor and MISTY BLUE EGO Z, Ben Bates and BELTANA QUINTESSENTIAL and Simone Sorensen and VIVA BLUE.

The final class of the day on the main arena was the second round of the Australian Senior Championship, which provided wonderful entertainment for the crowd over a course which our commentator advised was the equivalent of a European 3* Grand Prix track. The 19 combinations on the start list produced just three clear rounds, so a jump off as required to sort out the final positions on the podium. Just as the course was shortened for the jump off, the standard of the jumping went up. All three again went clear with only a touch more than two seconds separating them. The win went to Amber Fuller and NOPAL VAN TALLAERT in a time of 43.11 seconds. Second place went to Sam Whale and FLEUR DE LACOUR, who have recently moved from New Zealand, who finished in 45.06 seconds, just 0.17 faster than the third placed Phillip Lever and BILLIONAIRE NZPH. By finishing third in the first round and winning today, Amber Fuller and NOPAL VAN TALLAERT are atop the leader board and will start in Saturday’s big final on zero penalties.

As with the Young Riders, the first and second rounds of the Australian Senior Championship also double up as an interstate competition between teams of riders from NSW, Queensland and Victoria. The Queenslanders have won this competition for the past two years, however, this year the competition was won by NSW. It was a very close-run thing with both NSW and Queensland equal on 17 penalties, but NSW prevailing on a countback based on times. Third place went to the Victorians who were at a disadvantage to the other states, only having a team of three and therefore no opportunity for discard scores. Placings and Teams were as follows:

1st    NSW –Amber Fuller and NOPAL VAN TALLAERT, Aaron Hadlow and VAHLINVADER, Tom McDermott and COOLEY GANGSTER and Madeline Sinderberry and CAMIE Z (Chef d’equip – Colleen Brook).
2nd   QLD – Clem Smith and OAKS CONJUROR, Mattea Davidson and CHECKAMOUR D, Sam Overton and OAKS CASSANOVA and Stuart Jenkins and FAIRVIEW ALICANA.
3rd    VIC – Phillip Lever and BILLIONAIRE NZPH, Jess Pateman and CELSO and Russell Johnstone and DAPRICE.

There were a total of six classes held on the Pryde’s Easifeed Arena Two today. The first of these was
the Round 2 of the Yirrkala Stud Emerald Series for Young Horses, where an 18 combination jump off was required to sort out the placings. This class saw the winners of Round 1 repeat their performance to also take the win in Round 2. Samantha Dernee and GLENARA LEONARDO Z showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels for the second time in three days, rocketing around the jump off course in just 29.03 seconds. In second place, also double clear, and finishing in 30.19 seconds were Tyrone Latham and CHRISTALOU. Tom Sedger and mare STIR IT UP, were placed third, finishing in 32.84 seconds. So all is set for the final of this series, scheduled for the first class on Arena 2 on Saturday morning, when Samantha Dernee and GLENARA LEONARDO Z will start the final on zero penalties.

The second class of the day Emerald Series Open section, which saw an exciting 11 combination jump off. After the jump off, there were three combinations who were still on the perfect score, so it came down to times. The fastest, by almost five seconds, were Matt Irvine and mare DILANDRA, finishing in 31.29 seconds. Second place, in a time of 36.16 seconds were Jada Burgun and LG AMARILLO. Dual Olympian James Paterson-Robinson and KAMPARI placed were placed third, taking 39.36 seconds. Rachael Vella and VELARA DELERIUM, who finished second in the first round and fourth today, will start Saturday’s final in the lead, on zero penalties.

The Priestley Family sponsored the second round of the Amateur Series, which was the next class on Arena 2. There were 24 combinations on the start list, of which five were able to produce a clear round. Octagonal was a thoroughbred blessed with speed and the winner of this class, his daughter, RAISE AN ANGEL has inherited his speed and also has the ability to jump. Expertly ridden by Jessica Bott, they finished in 62.64 seconds to take the win by almost two seconds. Alex McDonough and mare JOIE DU LYS were second, in a time of 64.49 seconds. ANIKLAS, ridden by Abby West was in third place, by virtue of finishing in 67.65 seconds. Abby West and ANIKLAS, who finished in sixth place in Round one, will start Saturday’s final on zero penalties.

The afternoon continued with the second round of the Stonewall Equestrian TSHA Series. A small field of 13 combinations lined up for the contest and only one of these completed the course with zero penalties against their name. Lucy Borrack is a member of the Jumping Victoria High Performance Squad and is also competing in the Children’s Championship at this show, but she and her gelding OSCAR BOSCAIOLA showed the rest of the field how it is done to take the win. Second place went to Lori James and RESTAURANTEUR SHP with four faults and a time of 60.22 seconds. This represents a reversal of the first two placings from Round 1. Third place went to Queensland youngster James Hosie, who is also competing in the Children’s Championship at this show, riding the gelding RED SAMBUCA. Both the first and second place getters will start equal on zero penalties in Saturday’s final.

The DESA Opal Series for Adults saw round 1 go to Alexis Clark and OAKS VISIONARY after a clear round completed in 59.20 seconds. There were seven other clear rounds, however, the fastest of these was by Steven Pateman and FORMER PRESIDENT with a time of 65.27 seconds to earn them second place. Gelding YOICKS KITCHI ROU was ridden by Cody Mulder into third place breaking the beam in 67.38 seconds.

With shadows being cast long across the arena, the final class of the day was the DESA Opal Series for Juniors. The class attracted a start list of 26 combinations, nine of which produced clear rounds. The fastest of these and therefore the win went to Alice Lawrence and MR ALI, finishing in 56.87 seconds. They scraped in just ahead of the second placed Zara Sampson and MORTON with a time of 56.93 seconds. In third place were Olivia Curtain and INDI’S MR ZORBA JONES, who stopped the clock in 58.14 seconds. There were many impressive performances from these young riders and we look forward to seeing how this Series pans out over the next few days.

It was a big day of competition and marks the half-way point in our show. We can only wonder what excitement will be in store for us over the next three days.