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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

That's a wrap for Melbourne Royal after 10 days of excellent judging


ABOVE: Pope Cup winner Royal Fair and his rider Josh Clarke. Picture: JAY TOWN

THE Royal Melbourne show has drawn to close after 10 days of competition distinguished by some excellent judging across the Horses in Action program.


Without exception, the judges were knowledgeable and fair and placings were well deserved.


Starting off with the smallest of the exhibits, the champion Shetland Pony was Sheree Greer’s mare Travis Park Brianna with Rebecca And Jane Gerber’s Falconhurst Showpiece going reserve.


Stock horses were light on in numbers but the supreme champion led exhibit, Matilda Jackson’s Camelot Stingray, showed the qualities passed down by his great grandfather Rivoli Ray and deserved his sash.


Gordon Prichard Trust’s Sheady Jubiliation won the Alistair Irving Champion Working Stock Horse trophy and Matilda Jackson’s Camelot Final Impression was champion ridden Stock Horse.


The hunt club events have always been a traditional part of Melbourne Royal so let’s hope they continue to be in a fast-moving world.


Champion hunter on the flat was Dugald Bruce’s Hillbreeze Hotact (Murray Valley) and Micah Cox, also from Murray Valley, won both hunters plates with Leawarra Queen Bee.


Micah also won the Darren Green Memorial Trophy. Oaklands Hunt Club’s team two won the hunt club teams event.


Ponies were the first saddle classes and the Riemer family’s young mare Riegal Sugar Plum – home bred from the great show mare Radford Lodge Candy Cane – took the small pony award.


(Candy Cane's offspring also had success on the other side of the country at Perth Royal, where Sugar Plum’s full brother Riegal Secret Love sired the supreme champion Riding Pony Riegal Wonderland and the champion gelding Riegal Court Jester.)


Jess Campbell’s Melodypark Kingdom Of Heaven, another nice youngster by the prolific sire Royalwood Boy Soprano, took the big pony championship.


Greg Gerry’s Thoroughbred mare Coronation continues to gather toyal show sashes and, piloted as usual by Ali Berwick, took the championship for small hacks.


Stephen Merry and Josh Clarke’s SLM Night Owl was best novice hack and reserve champion open. The stable also took out the Col. A.V. Pope Cup with Royal Fair.


Natalie McKay’s St Andrews took out the championship for large hacks, with last year’s champion, Elizabeth Krog’s Warrawee Impresareeo, the reserve.


Warmblood horses dominated the placings in the show hunter classes where the champion larger show hunter was Ultimate PPH exhibited by Ali Berwick and Arielle Stella, while the small show hunter champion was Global PPS shown by Stephanie Barrington and Romsey Park.


Lily's Sovereign, owned by Margot Haynes, David Quayle and Kate Reid, was champion show hunter galloway and also won the Providence Cup for show hunters.


Sasha and Sierra Parker-Eade’s palomino Calca Park Aristocrat won the small show hunter pony championship in a section that showed the sturdy Welsh ponies provide the breeding of some true pony types. Bordershow Waltzing, owned by Abby Clark was reserve.


Ali Berwick and Janine Orpwood’s Monte Cristo V was the big pony show hunter champion with Indy Gardiner’s Fontain Park Sir Harvey, reserve.


Jess Stalling won her second Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout trophy this year riding Melissa Gillies’ Verdict By Direction, scoring 181 points.


The talented showjumping rider, who mixes showing with negotiating big jumping courses, won in 2019 before Covid broke out on the Thoroughbred Mikimoto.


Just two points behind in second place on 179 was Brynie Lee, sister to last year’s winner Ebonie Lee, riding the same horse, Wynara Signature owned by Simone Padoin.


Third was another previous winner in Ali Berwick, who won in 2012, on Xlerate on 178.


Natalie McKay and St Andrews placed fourth with 177 points and also took the award for the highest placed Thoroughbred.


Kate Halliday, also on 177, placed fifth on the Adelaide Royal Show champion Kalimna Quickhit and was the highest placed first-time rider. (Out of the 18 starters, nine were trying the event for the first time.)


Sixth on 176 points was Jessica Dertell, who the previous day had been named the champion lady rider.


Jess was unfortunate when her mount, Syriana, the former Olympic dressage mount for Mary Hanna, took an strong dislike to something at ringside and had a real throw down, before resuming her workout. Her rider dealt with the problem tactfully and well, but marks lost in manners are hard to make up.


ABOVE: Jess Stalling and Verdict By Direction. Picture: ANDREA DUNN

See how the riders scored across the categories.

Garryowen scores 2023
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