An all-star line up of showjumping greats took to the Herald Sun arena at the 2017 Royal Melbourne Show this afternoon in a bid to claim the coveted silver trophy in the Prince of Wales Cup. The illustrious history of the Cup, now in it’s 46th year as a showjumping competition centrepiece of the Royal Melbourne Show, drew past claimants of the coveted prize, Olympians and Australian Champions alike to contend for the title.
The David Sheppard designed track presented as an inviting challenge for the Cup hopefuls, with the encouraging course yielding nine clear rounds on the board from the nineteen accomplished entrants, spelling a challenging jump off contest for the successful partnerships. The revised course route set for the jump off challenge proved arduous in it’s questions for the contenders, with tight turns giving tipped rails for the skilled senior fields’ score tallies.
Penultimate performer on course, internationally accomplished Steven Hill with famed ‘Yalambi’s Bellini Star’ were the eventual victors and triumphant winners of this year’s Prince of Wales Cup, proving unbeatable in their double clear rounds. Hill took to the Herald Sun arena stage on board his well-performed mare, affectionately known as ‘Bella’ behind the scenes, posting the unsurpassed time of 45.38 seconds. The honour echoed history for Hill, who’s name is already etched on the hallowed silver trophy after his 2015 win with long-time mount, ‘Yalambi’s Bellini Star’, before a stellar competition run abroad on the international World Cup circuit. Hill was ever gracious in his acceptance of the coveted prize, presented by past Cup competitor and judge, Stan Fear, on his 50th year of involvement in the Royal Show, with Hill humorously confirming to the crowds that he won’t be chasing international stardom again soon with three young children now in tow.
Skilful tact served accomplished multidisciplinary equestrian Jess Stalling well this afternoon, with the highly accredited show ring rider turning taking her trademark poise to the jump off battle. Stalling piloted ‘Diamond B Vermont’ to Reserve placing in this year’s Prince of Wales Cup confirming the only other double clear performance of the day, and clocking in a time of 52.49. Stalling, who is the reigning Reserve placegetter in the famed Garryowen class, will whet spectators’ appetites for compelling equestrian viewing this Royal Melbourne Show, as she doubles her competition entrants across two disciplines, on the showjumping and showing stages.
Fresh from his remarkable Senior Title victory at the Australian Showjumping Championships just last week, three-time Australian Champion, showjumping supernova Jamie Kermond rode two masterclass rounds with his ‘Yandoo Oaks Constellation’ to claim third place in the Prince of Wales Cup. The Victorian local just tipped a rail to tally four penalties as he piloted his revered and internationally accomplished gelding ‘Yandoo Oaks Constellation’ around the precarious jump off course, in his hair-raising efforts to make time in the challenge, stopping the clock at 46.29.
Crowd-favourite and reigning claimant of the Prince of Wales Cup, Rebecca Jenkins and ‘RSB Jacana’ stepped up to repeat last year’s masterclass performance. The Queenslander in partnership with well-performed mare, fondly known as ‘Mia’, were unstuck in their pursuit, toppling a rail in the jump off challenge, and gaining them four penalties in addition to their time of 46.39, for an eventual fourth placing.
Much-accomplished horseman Andrew Lamb rounded out the top five on board ‘CP Argento’, joining the “four-faulters” with one rail down in the jump off. The pair came to the Herald Sun arena stage guns blazing, following their unfortunate parting of ways last week at the Australian Showjumping Championships, to showcase a spectacular performance to the eager crowds, and clocking in an enviable time of 49.26.
Showjumping thrills will continue on the Herald Sun stage at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show, culminating in the FEI World Cup class on Tuesday 26th September at 2.30pm. However, there is plenty more equestrian action to follow both at the grounds and over the ‘Horses in Action’ live stream in a full line up of exciting breed and showing classes.
Words: Gabi Rivett