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All Roads Lead to Hawke’s Bay

All Roads Lead to Hawke’s Bay

This time next week the first ribbons will already have been presented at the 2014 NRM Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.

One of the biggest sporting celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere is gearing up to be a real cracker, according to HOY show director Kevin Hansen of the event that starts on Tuesday (March 18).

Already star billing at the show is the current world champion showjumper Philippe Le Jeune (Belgium) who will compete in the premier classes of the event, Sir Mark Todd is also heading Down Under for the show and will captain the New Zealand team in the Country TV Tri Nations competition against China and Australia, a crack Australian team is inbound for the Mitavite Trans Tasman clash and 2600 other combinations are lining up to win the nation’s top awards.

And Hansen is also on the cusp of announcing an international superstar who will compete in the eventing. For the first time ever, the cross country component of the eventing competition has been moved to the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds.

It’s been a somewhat controversial move but course designer John Nicholson – brother of world number one eventer Andrew Nicholson – and competitors are all excited about the prospect.

The entire show will shut down on Saturday afternoon as a record field of competitors take on the course that winds its way throughout the showgrounds, including through the picturesque Waikoko Lake.

It’s been declared People’s Day at the show and Hansen is hopeful Hawke’s Bay residents will turn out in their droves for the world-class competition.

The show runs from Tuesday (March 18) through to Sunday (March 23) and riders from 19 disciplines ranging from showjumping to dressage, eventing to show hunter, mounted games, pleasure ponies and more, compete for top honours.

It’s a truly international affair with riders, judges, officials and spectators coming from all over the world.

Sunday’s JB Olympic Cup is the jewel in the crown for the New Zealand showjumper of the year, and with a $200,000 prize purse there is plenty of incentive to do well. Back to defend his title is veteran Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke), along with four-time winner Katie McVean (Mystery Creek), Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) and more. But they’ll have their work cut out with entries also from world champ Philippe Le Jeune (Belgium) and some top Aussies..

Throughout the week there is so much to see, and with more than 70,000 spectators expected through the gates, plenty are likely to be entertained.

More than 500 volunteers come from all over the country to help Hawke’s Bay put on a spectacular that contributes more than $12.5 million to the local economy each year.

HOY week gets under way on Sunday (March 16) with Showjumping’s Holy Grail at the iconic Church Road Winery where a brand new concept is being introduced.

Full throttle jumping is akin to 20/20 cricket and sevens rugby and will see teams from New Zealand and Australia tested in their skill, speed and stamina. Hansen is confident the class will revolutionise the sport.

“It’s super fast and calls for bravery and accuracy from horse and rider – it will be incredible to see the full throttle concept come together for the first time.”


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