Luke Dee has finally pulled off the win of his career, taking out the Bayer FEI World Cup Final at the Mills Reef Winery this evening. (Thursday)
The 19-year-old full time rider came oh-so-close to a win in the series at the weekend when he finished second to Katie McVean, but this time, he and Ombudsman reign supreme.
The final also marked a special milestone for veteran Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) who reclaimed the series he last won at least a decade ago.
In the stunning Mills Reef Winery surrounds, one of the grand finale of the series unfolded as part of the Tauranga World Cup Final Show.
First out was late entry Rosie Commons (Auckland) and Glenara Chandon, who finished their second ever world cup start with just eight faults over the Louis Konicks (the Netherlands) designed course.
Then came Dee who left everything up, followed by
two eight fault rounds by Tim Myers (Hawera) on Pick Me NZPH
and McVean on Dunstan Zimorena G.
Bernard Denton (Feilding) on Horsesports Suzuki and Beatson aboard the borrowed Highlander II (owned by Josh Barker) both collected faults.
That was it – with just one clear, the final was over without a jump-off.
Beatson was chuffed to take the series. He rode for New Zealand in the world final in Holland back in the 1990s, and while he says he won’t be heading to the final again after this victory, he’s chuffed.
“It’s been a long time between drinks alright,” said the oldest World Cup NZ Series winner. “It’s always nice to get a win and then on to the next job.”
The ‘next job’ is two mounts in the $50,000 grand prix at Ride the Rhythm in Dunedin tomorrow night. He and former series winner McVean flew in to Tauranga for the final and will be heading back to Dunedin as soon as possible.
“This is a great series and it’s an international one too, so good to win,” he said.
It’s something Dee now aspires to.
“I am real stoked,” he said. “It’s a good feeling getting one (a win) right at the end. I was starting to feel a little left behind with Jake (Lambert) and Tim (Myers) both winning one.”
Lambert, Myers and Dee are the young guns, who are quickly rising up the ranks, and all have now won a world cup round.
But Dee can claim the final.
“Ombudsman is certainly a good first world cup horse for me, and I think he’ll have no problem continuing to grow.”
Dee says the course tonight was a challenging one, and the undulating ground added to the task.
He was full of praise not just for his 12-year-old horse – who he says has “all the jump in the world” - but also for his parents Jo and Richard Dee and his employers New Zealand Performance Horses.
McVean had to settle for fourth equal in the series she has made her own in recent years, with three wins, and New Zealand’s best ever result in a world final with her sixth equal in 2011.
In the Mills Reef 1.35m Classic Lisa Coupe (Kumeu) showed Bates Amaretto MVNZ is back in his groove with a fantastic win. Twenty-two started the class, with nine going clear and through to the jump-off.
Third out was Vicki Wilson (Hikurangi), who flew round in her usual style aboard Showtym Levado GNZ, leaving all the rails up and stopping the clock at 40.36 seconds. It looked for all money like she had it won, until last to go Coupe and Amaretto, who has been out with a virus since October.
The combination rode a beautiful round to go clear in 40.33 and take victory in the $3,000 class.
“It’s just awesome,” said Coupe. “I’m pretty thrilled to have him back again. It’s been a difficult three months but well worth the wait.”
Bayer FEI World Cup NZ Final: Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) Ombudsman 1, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) Dunstan Zimorena G 2, Tim Myers (Hawera) Pick Me NZPH 3, Rosie Commons (Auckland) Glenara Chandon 4, Bernard Denton (Feilding) Horsesports Suzuki 5, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Highlander II (owned by Josh Barker) 6.
Series points: Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) 42 points 1, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) 39 2, Bernard Denton (Feilding) 38 3, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) and Tim Myers (Hawera) 37 =4.
Mills Reef 1.35m Classic: Lisa Coupe (Kumeu) Bates Amaretto MVNZ 1, Vicki Wilson (Hikurangi) Showtym Levado GNZ 2, Nicki Booth (Masterton) Edana van Overis 3, Catherine Cameron (Cambridge) Campione GNZ 4, Travis Morgan (Tauranga) Cervelt MVNZ 5, Bridget Hansen (Ocean Beach) Shakespeare NZPH 6.