Popular Victorian rider Amanda Ross delighted a big crowd at Werribee Park this afternoon winning one of her home town Eventing majors – the Saddleworld Melbourne International 3 Day Event CIC3*.
Heading into today’s final jumping phase Ross and her elegant black Thoroughbred Koko Popping Candy were sitting in second position behind Rio Olympics bronze medallist Shane Rose and Virgil. But, after going clear they set a mean task for their rivals.
The last to go in breezy conditions Shane Rose and Virgil, a noted jumping star, knocked the third last rail handing victory to Ross and her 11YO mare (32.90). It was her first 3- star win at MI3DE.
“The most exciting thing is that we beat Shane (Rose). He’s such a great friend but the benchmark for us all. Virgil might not have a rail down again for the next two years but to be able to be up there with him is the benchmark,” said Ross.
“She’s becoming much more established at this level. She felt fantastic this weekend. I feel I have a great partner which is fantastic.”
They looked notably comfortable and relaxed around the David Shepherd designed course today and showed that all the hard work they have put into their jumping behind the scenes has paid off.
“I do a lot of jumping. I like it as fitness exercise and my coach Brook Dobbin was here today and helped us get the right warm-up fences.”
Shane Rose and Virgil finished in second placing (35.50) whilst young NSW star Olivia Barton and APH Bertie Lad were third (35.70).
In the CCI3* event, NSW based Jade Findlay scored the biggest win of her riding career aboard her 13YO Warmblood mare Oaks Cordelia (32.20). She defeated Jess Wray (33.00) and Gemma Tinney was third (33.60).
“I feel so lucky to be riding her. She’s very careful and talented and it’s been a long time coming this win,” said Findlay.
“It’s the absolute best win. I have an amazing team around me, my staff, my family, my daughter and this horse suits me. She’s the best horse I’ve had and this is definitely the pinnacle.”
Findlay, who has campaigned Oaks Cordelia for eight years, said the once difficult mare has been in the zone all weekend.
“She’s really tried and been calm. When she arrived off the truck she said I’m here and ready to do it.”
Findlay’s win helped lead NSW to victory in the inaugural Judy Fasher International Horse Trials Australian Team Challenge. The Equestrian NSW initiative, introduced for the first time this year, added a State of Origin type flare to the MI3DE.
“We came into this as an all-girls team and quite inexperienced. The girls rode their butts off and were amazing it was a bonus to be chosen for the team,” said Findlay.
In the CCI2* Stuart Tinney and Celebration were successful (26.30) and winners of the CCI1* were Shane Rose and his Holsteiner mare Easy Turn.