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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

It was beauty and the weather beast for riders at Mansfield

ABOVE: Justine Mizzi and Montini flying through the two-star course. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

MANSFIELD holds the distinction of being one of the most beautiful settings for a horse trials in Australia.

Like many other events last weekend it was beset by the Victoria’s storms, but eventing people are tough and the rain did little harm (though spare a thought for intrepid photographer Derek O’Leary, who got caught on the cross country course in the worst of the storm).

Thoroughbreds filled all three placings in the two-star class, where Georgia Spangaro on Peninsula Park Joker led from the dressage and followed it up with two perfect rounds in the jumping. Maddy Kitto on My Friend Jack finished second and Asha Warnock with Gold Symphony third.

Georgia said she bought Peninsula Park Joker (Jake) from a friend about two years ago.

“He is an unraced Thoroughbred by Bel Esprit,” she said. “Jake actually won the 95cm class at Manfield in 2022 and his last two-star start at Avenal Horse Trials in 2023.

“He is a bit of a quirky character, which can sometimes make the dressage interesting, but loves to jump.”

Bianca Sigismundi and Sentinal Prime rose from sixth after dressage to win the one star, with Teegan Ashby’s Magic Margot TAE second and Kate Joyce’s Wade Equine Oki Doki third.

Christopher Height riding Royale Remington won the first of the EA 95cm divisions, with the ever-active and fit Sam Jeffree taking second and third places with Bohemian Cavalcade and Wimborne Caitlin.

Sam then took out the other division riding Dream Ahead Cartier with Lucy Bramley on the pony Albert Who second and Lucy Sawers Willtony’s Xanadu third.

ABOVE: Zoe Shearman and Fire Truck. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY
ABOVE: Danielle Cleland and Wimborne Cognac. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

As is usually the case in EA 80cm classes, the places wobble around a little after dressage. In the first division, Alana Gebert and Two To Tango rose from equal ninth after dressage to take the win, with Zoe Shearman and Fire Truck rising from fourth after dressage to finish second and Teegan Ashby’s Ella Isabella improving from 11th to place third.

Danielle Cleland’s Wimborne Cognac won the second division and was second after dressage, but Alexis Bellingham’s Binkle Park Pulp Fiction improved from sixth and Sasha Toepfer’s Stylish Roy from eighth to take the minor places.

Daniella Gagliardi’s Rich Business led a full field of EA 65cm horses with Laura Bell’s Fun Fact in second place and Alice Darby rode Persian Holiday to third place.

Action moves to the Lakes and Craters Horse Trials for the final event of 2023 and with 2024 being an Olympic Year, it should be an exciting time.

ABOVE: Bessie Dimery and Clever Connection place sixth in the 80cm first division. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

ABOVE: A bit of rain didn't stop anyone. Pictures: DEREK O'LEARY

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