Beatson keeps star in reserve
New Zealand's top riders will be hoping for a few early presents from Santa in the final round of the Bayer World Cup New Zealand League at the Taupo Christmas Classic.
Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) has won all three rounds so far but will not be starting his top horse My Gollywog this weekend, opting instead to save the 18-year-old showjumper for the first show of the New Year at his home venue.
Beatson has his home-bred youngster Schimmel Warrior entered instead.
"He's jumped some good rounds but this is his first season at world cup level," said the Olympian and former cup finalist.
"He has the ability to win but consistency is the key with him and he's still learning the trade."
The nine-year-old has been placed in one of his three starts.
"I'm hoping for a few points on the board but the experience for him is important."
Three-time series winner Kate McVean (Mystery Creek) is also without her top horse for the class. Dunstan Daffodil will be at the show - her first in months - but will be easing back into things in the 1.2m-1.3m classes.
McVean has two entered in the world cup - 8-year-olds Dunstan Delilah and Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark.
Iron Mark has done only one world cup but finished third after unluckily taking the last fence in the second round, while Delilah has done two and also placed.
"The world cup series is an important one but this year all my horses are so young, I'm not pushing them," McVean said.
Bernard Denton (Feilding) and Horsesports Suzuki, who are in second spot , will be keen to continue their steady form.
There are a string of imported horses who look to be finding form. In that line-up is Matthew Gilmour (Matangi) and Belize Di Cantero and Olympian Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) aboard Estina.
A group of young riders should also feature. Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) captained the young rider Kiwi team to victory in the trans-Tasman Shield last weekend but is riding his own mount, Ombudsman, while team-mate Rosie Commons (Auckland) starts Glenara Chandon in their first world cup. Timothy Myers (Taranaki) on Pick Me NZPH is another to keep an eye on.