Akers has first World Cup start of the season tonight

Opiki's Lucy Akers has her first World Cup start of the season at Manfeild tonight on the 14-year-old Tinapai, the horse on which she was third in the series two years ago.

Last week at Foxton they were runnerup in the 2-star horse grand prix to Robert Steel (Hawera) on his 17-year-old Gospel.

"It has always been the case since the start of the season to wait until Feilding," Akers said.

"That's the type of horse he is. He needs to get a few groups under his belt."

But it has given everyone else a head start of two rounds in the series.

Wily former Olympian Maurice Beatson from Dannevirke will be the favourite on his 18-year-old horse My Gollywog after he won the opening two rounds, at Hawke's Bay and Waikato.

He was the World Cup runnerup last year to Katie McVean and will also jump a second horse, Schimmel Warrior.

McVean (Mystery Creek), has won the last three series but has been on two inexperienced young mares so far.

Gone to the Arabs is Delphi and McVean for now is without Dunstan Daffodil, but hopes to have her back competing by Christmas in round 4 at Taupo.

This week she will ride the imported Zimorena G and Delilah, a younger sister to Delphi.

Many regulars will bypass Feilding because they have inexperienced mounts not happy jumping indoors. Sadly, it has become the round with the fewest starters.

Former series winner Simon Wilson (Waipukurau) has entered with his 19-year-old thoroughbred Swinger after finishing third in the series last year.

Hastings Luke Dee was third on Ombudsman at Foxton and is on Saturday's card. Ombudsman is from the same stallion as Tinapai, Omnicorp, a thoroughbred racing sire.

Also jumping will be Patea's Tim Myers on Pick Me and Feilding's Bernard Denton (Suzuki).

The World Cup series runs over eight rounds, with the final in Tauranga in late January. The winner has the chance to travel to Sweden for the world final in April.

Bayer World Cup League points: 1 Maurice Beatson 28, 2 Katie McVean 17, 3 Bernard Denton 16, 4 Ross Smith 13, 5 Simon Wilson 10, 6= Lisa Coupe 9, 6= Susie Hayward 9, 8 Luke Dee 8, 9 Samantha McIntosh 6, 10 Carissa McGregor 5, 11 Catherine Cameron 1 1 12 Mathew Gilmour 0.

The Feilding A & P Show is one of the biggest showjumping events outside the horse-of-the-year show. Close to 600 horses entered, 340 were housed at Manfeild and about 100 volunteers were working there. There were 400 horses at Foxton last weekend.

The Manawatu Standard