Helen McNaught takes a world cup victory in New Zealand

Helen McNaught posted the only double clear in the world cup qualifier at Mystery Creek, Waikato, New Zealand, to take victory on Carnutelabryere.

Out of the 19 starters, three posted initial clears and, under New Zealand rules becauseof entry numbers, these were joined by four and eight faulters to make 12 combinations coming forward in round two carrying their faults.

“The first round wasn’t huge but it was trappy enough, and ‘Brian’ was a bit preoccupied with cross-cantering, but he tries hard and knows where the rails are,” said Helen, who produced the quickest time in round one to take the advantageous final draw – “McLain and Barney Ward trained me well on that one!”

A further three jumped clear in the jump-off, but biggest danger Katie Laurie (nee McVean), clear in round one on Dunstan On The Point Eve, hit the last rail. Katie was also one of the second round clears with Dunstan Breeze, but a rail on the floor in round one put her second and third.

It was all down to Helen, and the Cartani/Cor De La Bryere 10-year-old Brian – something of an equine celebrity with his own fan club in New Zealand – rose to the occasion to provide a foot-perfect clear.

“Katie hitting the final rail took the pressure off. Brian was hard work in the first round, but the second saw him focused and firing. He jumped superbly then nearly bucked me off after the last fence,” said Helen.

Helen currently lies second behind Lucy Akers in the 2016 -2017 New Zealand world cup League. The winner has the opportunity to compete at the FEI world cup jumping final in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, on 27 March – 2 April, 2017.

Photo © Ana Rattray