Spectators flocked to the grandstands today to witness world-class performances from the strong senior field that contended the Melbourne Royal FEI World Cup event on the Herald Sun arena stage. The knife’s edge competition spectacle held appetent onlookers on the edge of their seats as the podium became anyone’s game to grab, benchmarking the best of the best with the challenging questions set by David Sheppard, that caused casualties amongst tipped favourites and top performers.
Recently crowned, three-time Australian Champion, and showjumping supernova Jamie Kermond operated in a league of his own on board the sensational ‘Yandoo Oaks Constellation’ to emerge victorious after the double round battle of showjumping brilliance brought to the stage today. The spectacular showdown of past World Cup claimants, Olympians and young gun super talents proved no hurdle for Kermond, who rounded out his remarkable, and surely very memorable, Victorian run with the win, fresh from his history-making Australian Showjumping Championships Senior Title three-peat. The masterful Kermond in his famed partnership with ‘Nappa’ were simply no match for opponents unable to emulate his dream double clear rounds, as they clocked in a time of 52.45 seconds. The Victorian born and bred title claimant whet spectators’ appetites for an international level display of apt tact in conquering the arduous courses’ questions. Kermond took to tight turns to shave off all-important time, and ultimately bolster his partnership with the famed gelding to top of the leader board, rendering their score tally unattainable to the remaining entrants. Kermond conquered all today with ‘Yandoo Oaks Constellation’, and the pair will return to their NSW base thoroughly decorated in their Victorian winnings, as he prepares for fatherhood with his accomplished wife Jamie Winning.
Fierce in his conquest came Stewart Jenkins in second place, in a spectacular showcase of showjumping expertise worthy of the World Cup stage. With notably enthusiastic encouragement of well-performed wife Rebecca from the rider’s grandstand, Stewart left rails cleanly untouched as he piloted standout mount ‘Fairview Aliquidam’ over the final showjumping finish line of the Melbourne Royal Show at 54.31, remarkably stopping the clock less than a second behind eventual victor Kermond.
Young gun and super talent Brooke Langbecker performed far beyond her years in a superb display that seemed more attune to her most seasoned colleagues. But it was this, her first ever World Cup event, that spelled success in final podium placing for Langbecker, benchmarking the twenty year old as surely a future master of the sport with much success to come. The incredible talent partnered with the imposing and highly impressive imported stallion Quintago 1 to cement superstar status and clear rounds on the board, clocking in a time of 57.19.
Masterful horseman and show-stopping performer Billy Raymont stormed the outstanding field of entrants in his heart-stopping ride on board ‘Anton’, with the pair silencing the grandstand masses and throwing down the gauntlet to the field with his uncatchable speed. Raymont set the bar to beat stopping the clock at the near unbelievable 49.13, however his hot pursuit for World Cup stardom spelled a ticked rail that saw the pair unstuck from their lead, adding four faults to their time.
Rounding out the top five was internationally acclaimed contender and claimant of Sunday’s Prince of Wales Cup, Steven Hill on board his brilliant mare ‘Yalambi’s Bellini Star’. The pair uncharacteristically toppled a rail to gather four penalties in addition to their time of 53.51 in the World Cup event, to cinch the fifth place position.
Although the words of familiar face, seasoned showjumping presenter and voice of the live stream, Tim Dreverman, ring true in his often proclaimed pitch: “We don’t judge style or presentation in this great competition,” the two-fold presentation also saw ‘Best Presented Combination’ in yesterday’s trot up held in anticipation of the FEI World Cup class crowned. The brilliant Billy Raymont also laid claim to this honour, with notable performer Rebecca Jenkins named ‘Reserve Best Presented’ to round out the honours on the Herald Sun stage today.
Words: Gabi Rivett