By HARRY CLARKE
A TEAM comprising some of Australia’s finest showjumping horses and riders has converted $85,000 into $245,000 for Equine International Airfreight, which emerged the winning slot holder at the Magic Millions’ second annual showjumping event.
A staggering prize pool of $1.45m was accumulated for the colourful showjumping exhibition on the Gold Coast, attracting the sport’s crème de la crème and providing yet another equine spectacle as part of the Magic Millions festival of horse racing and yearling sales.
Magic Millions owner Katie Page told the Caller she and husband Gerry Harvey added show jumping to the Magic Millions schedule in part due to “pressure” from their daughter Georgia Harvey, an international show jumper.
“It was quite obvious that the racing people were also into polo, into show jumping and into eventing,” Page said.
“We started with polo in 2017 and as that started to really gain traction we said ‘why don’t we do the show jumping?’. You can see how important it is to these show jumpers to be putting events on like this.
“Throughout the year they’ve got lots of shows that they’re going to. They’re great shows but they’re small and they don’t get this sort of attention really. For those jumpers that are not used to being in an arena with 5,000 people, it’s preparing them for what they’re going to come up against overseas.
“We will keep going. Supporting these show jumpers is just a great privilege for Gerry and I.”
In the senior competition, 12 companies associated with the racing industry purchased ‘slots’ for $85,000 and fielded teams of four to compete head-to-head.
Showjumping stars among the teams included Australian Olympians Vicki Roycroft, James Paterson-Robinson and Peter McMahon, as well as Korean national showjumper Andrew Chun Hee Jung.
It was Equine International Airfreight’s team of Ally Lamb, Robert Palm, Katrina Hope and Isabella Du Plessis who claimed victory as the only group to clear every jump, claiming the winning cheque of $245,000.
Winner of the junior individual competition was Elissa Stephens on her horse Vertigo.
The competition was livestreamed online to an international audience, which Page said created an important opportunity to showcase Australian show jumping around the world.
“If you’re watching overseas, it doesn’t look like an Australian paddock. We’ve got some aerial views going out and they’re looking at the surf on one side and the broad water on the other side. They’re really loving watching this.
“How good is this for Australia and for our show jumpers, showcasing to the rest of the world what they can do, when normally it’s the other way around?
“These jumps are 1.45m high, so that gives you an idea of how incredible it is to see a half tonne animal getting over a fence – and they do it so easily. It’s always amazing to see that they’re so talented, and they love doing it.