Cream Of The Crop Mount Up For Nissan World Cup Qualifier

BY PHROSNè PHILLIPS - NOVEMBER 6, 2014

International equestrian sport comes to Nelson Mandela Bay later this month as a field of top-class showjumpers do battle in the final leg of the Nissan World Cup Qualifier from 13 to 16 November 2014.

With an invitation to compete in the FEI* World Cup in Las Vegas, USA, in 2015 at stake, South Africa’s top showjumping competitors have entered for the event for a last chance to secure or boost their place in the rankings table.

Show director and organizer Tanja Radke said a capacity field of 180 horses and their riders would be competing in the four-day feast of showjumping, with 2013 winner Nicole Horwood, the current top-ranked rider on Capital Don Cumarco, in contention against a strong field of up-and-coming talent.

Up-and-coming rider AJ Radermacher of George is expected impress with a strong challenge to the top-seeded riders while the sport’s equity hopes rest on the talented Port Elizabeth’s Peter Ntonzini of Port Elizabeth, competing in the 1m class.

The event has attracted a number of top-seeded riders and past finalists, including Bronwyn Short, Barry Taylor, Peter Morrison, Dominey Alexander and Samantha McIntosh.

“Several of the top riders are bringing their finest horses down to ensure they can compete at their best over the four day event, which will ensure exciting riding for spectators throughout. With this being the last opportunity this year to qualify for the world event, riders are sure to be on top form and deliver thrilling competition,” Radke said.

Horses and riders will pit their skills against a challenging international-standard course designed by Capetonian Kevin Spratley, one of South Africa’s most knowledgeable and experienced course designers, she said.

The FEI World Cup series is a global event, which tests the determination and skills of the world’s best riders across 15 continental leagues, culminating in a final where the top rider of the season is crowned. The Port Elizabeth event is the last of eight qualifiers in the South African league this year.

The event is held under FEI* competition regulations and Clean Sport programme. Radke said a contingent of highly respected officials would form the ground jury, closely monitoring every movement of the horse and rider combinations.

 “The ground jury rules on penalties, clear rounds and, if necessary, disqualifies competitors. They also monitor the time taken in the jump-off, which can be the deciding factor for a win.

“The horses’ welfare is paramount and they will be in excellent hands throughout the event. The Chief Steward will ensure the horses are well cared for, while course veterinarian Dr Charles Hayward, will certify horses fit for competition,” Radke said.

Hayward is FEI-qualified and is the event watchdog for the FEI Clean Sport programme, aimed at ensuring both fitness and fairness in equestrian competitions.

Entrance to the event, hosted in the top-class arenas and spectator facilities of the PE Riding Club, is free. Spectators will be able to test drive various Nissan vehicles, visit a variety of food and refreshment stalls and a kids play area will be available.

For more information, contact the PE Riding Club on 041 3674220.

* FEI: Fédération Equestre Internationale or International Federation for Equestrian Sports.