Samantha McIntosh may be an Olympian and a world championships rider, but the Cambridge showjumper's victory on Saturday in the World Cup event at the Royal A and P Show New Zealand in Feilding was a first.
Aboard the nine-year-old Belgian imported mare Estina, McIntosh headed home 12 other combinations. While Estina can be a tricky ride, she was superb on Saturday night.
"I think the Australian tour over the winter months helped her grow up a lot," said McIntosh. "She is a handful, but when she is good, she is very good."
The combination have been knocking on the door for a while, but the double clear remained elusive - until the weekend.
McIntosh and Estina are heading into their third season together. "It's cool it all came together."
While McIntosh has no real plans to chase the New Zealand World Cup series, most of the classes are at the "better" shows.
"I prefer to choose courses that suit my horse and her development, so we will see."
With her other mare Claire out for the rest of the season with injury, McIntosh has recently paired with Argento who she sees as another potential top horse. "I would like to have a crack at a world cup with her too."
Saturday belonged to Estina. In the first round, just Estina and former multi-series winner Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) and Dunstan Kiwi Iron Mark (owned by June Berrington) were clear. Last season's series victor Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and My Gollywog had a single rail to carry four faults through, as did current series leader Susie Hayward (Canterbury) and Andretti.
Eight combinations came back for the second round which saw just McIntosh and eventual second placegetter Beatson go clear over the Gary Sinclair (Wellington)-designed course - McIntosh in 66.56 seconds, and Beatson in 62.89 but with four faults.
McVean and Iron Mark were the fastest in the against-the-clock round with their 57.72, but paid for their speed with eight faults.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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