Sam Felton adds another title at Kihikihi

      Sam Felton adds another  title at Kihikihi International on Ricker Ridge Escada


Samantha Felton completed a rather unique clutch of titles today with her victory in the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* Forest Gate Trophy at the Kihikihi International Horse Trial.Her win aboard Ricker Ridge Escada in the national one day title class means she has now won a ‘full set’ – from pre novice to 1*, 2* and now the 3*.

“It is cool and something I have been quietly trying to achieve for a while now,” said the 25-year-old full time rider. “I broke my collar bone one year and just haven’t had the horses at the right stages, so this is great.”
She has had 11-year-old Escada, a full thoroughbred, since he was five. The horse had done pre novice but she’s brought him on from there.

“The ability has always been there,” she said. “He is a real workman and a quiet achiever even though he can have a bit of a grumpy old man persona sometimes.”

The combination were sixth after the dressage, sitting on 53.6 penalty points.

“Our dressage is always a work in progress.” They do a lot of work with Penny Castle and Tracy Smith “It is just getting more of everything really . . . collection, balance and that consistency.”

Felton has every confidence the horse is a 4* for the future “I think he has definitely proven he has the goods, so it will be about seeing what next year brings.”



Coming in second today was Bundy Philpott (Cambridge) aboard Tresca NZPH. The combination were third coming into the all-important showjumping where they were clear but had two time faults.

“I don’t think anyone would be surprised at that,” said Philpott. “I am the queen of slow.”

Kihikihi was her first big event back after a nasty fall at Taupo in 2014, and just Tresca’s second 3* start so she was rapt with their second placing.

“He is a super genuine horse and one I am lucky to have in the yard,” she said of the 10-year-old who was bred to showjump.

Third place today went to Andy Daines (Kumeu) and Spring Panorama who had eight faults to move back a slot.

“He still jumped amazingly and I am stoked with him,” he said.

British FEI judge Les Smith was most impressed with what he saw at Kihikihi “It is a fabulous venue, terrific track and just a brilliant cross country, which was beautifully presented,” he said. “John (Nicholson) is a world class builder.”


Brooke Campbell (above) couldn’t believe a horse who had been all but written off by others today won her the CIC2* Waiteko Trophy Championship. Freddy Dash was bought as a training horse for Campbell’s mother and passed to her when she lost her own horse Stretch to colic.

“I didn’t want him because I thought he was useless,” she said. “He was lazy and bludgie but with a heart of gold.”

That was three years ago, and while he is still known as Fat Freddy at home, plenty of coaching and loads of hard work has made the difference.



Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation (above) won the CIC2* class but were ineligible to win the national title, as was the second-placed Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) and Just Kidding.

Johnstone was rapt with the efforts of Sensation, who at sixth place was New Zealand’s highest placed eventer at the Rio Olympics.

“Kihikihi is such a lovely event and Ritchie (Balmoral Sensation) had such fun in all three phases. It is down a level or two to what he usually competes at so it is easier for him but it is just nice to bring him here and have him enjoy himself so much.”

He and Ritchie were second place going into the cross country and had to “put the foot down” to go inside the time. Johnstone didn’t go home empty-handed though – he won the Wade Equine Coaches CIC1* Ferndale Salver Trophy Championship for the third time guiding In Disguise to victory in the title class he has previously won on Orient Express (2006) and Quainton Labyrinth (2014).


       Clarke Johnstone and In Disguise win the CIC1* and the national title


“Winning a national title is always special,” said 29-year-old Johnstone. The combination were second after the dressage, sitting on 40.9 penalty points, just adrift of leader Dannie Lodder (Auckland) aboard Eye Spy on 38.7.
“I was very happy with his dressage,” he said, “and he was simply superb in the cross country. He made the time very easily and I don’t think he put a toe on anything”

The effort put them into the lead, which they held on to thanks to a lovely double clear in the showjumping.

“He is a super consistent horse. He has jumped to 1.35m in showjumping but when you are under pressure without a rail in hand for a national title, anything can happen.” But he had every confidence the horse would shine.
The win today was special too for In Disguise’s owner Janene Maxwell who had been a great supporter of Johnstone for many years.

“Kihikihi is probably the best in New Zealand,” said Johnstone. “The venue, surface, and the cross country is always a fair but difficult test. The showjumping arenas are nice and the event is as good as you will get anywhere in the world. I just love coming here.”

A barefoot, opinionated mare who loves to be the centre of attention proved her worth today winning the JLT CNC105 Tait Trophy. Spellbound carried her owner and rider Christine Jeffs (Matakana) to victory with double clear in the showjumping to finish on 33.3 penalty points, edging out runner-up Abigail Long (Levin) and My Tom Tom on 34.

Movie director Jeffs, who is currently doing a masters in fine arts, was over the moon with her “beautiful” mare.

“I didn’t even know we had won until I got a call from a friend. I am blown away. Really thrilled and very proud of her. Sassy (Spellbound) is a real performer on every level,” she said. “She is hot but just wants to get on with the job.”

Article by Diana Dobson

Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* Forest Gate Trophy Championship: Samantha Felton (Cambridge) Ricker Ridge Escada 77.2 penalty points 1, Bundy Philpott (Cambridge) Tresca NZPH 81.4 2, Andy Daines (Kumeu) Spring Panorama 90.1 3, Chloe Phillips-Harris (Kerikeri) Cor Jet 92.1 4, Sarah Dalziell-Clout (Masterton) Benrose Super Star 98.5 5, Ashleigh McKinstry (Owhango) Pioneer Brass Monkey 103.6 6.
Trust Waikato CIC2* Waiteko Trophy Championship: Brooke Campbell (Coatsville) Freddy Dash.
Trust Waikato CIC2*: Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Balmoral Sensation 42.2 penalty points 1, Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) Just Kidding 48 2, Brooke Campbell (Coatsville) Freddy Dash 57.7 3, Abigail Long (Levin) Enzo 58 4, Heelan Tompkins (New Plymouth) Snow Leopard 58.3 5, Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) DSE Cluny 58.9 6.
Wade Equine Coaches CIC1* Ferndale Salver Trophy Championship: Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) In Disguise 40.9 penalty points 1, Samantha Felton (Cambridge) Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ 42.8 2, Dannie Lodder (Auckland) Eye Spy 43.5 3, Angela Lloyd (Hunua) 43.8 4, Kate Herdson (Eon) 47.5 5, Madison Crowe (Hamilton) Lucius GNZ 53.1 6.
Results – JLT CNC105 Tait Trophy Championship: Christine Jeffs (Matakana) Spellbound 33.3 penalty points 1, Abigail Long (Levin) My Tom Tom 34 2, Sophie Wilkinson (Taupo) Astek Gravitty 35.2 3, Christen Lane (Pukekohe) Henton Armada 35.4 4, Danielle Wheeler (Clevedon) Pierre 35.4 5, Sophie Wilkinson (Taupo) Astek Varius 35.4 6.
Horselands CIC1*: Megan Finlayson (Waimate North) Greensleeves 40.2 penalty points 1, Holly Morrell (Taupo) Pampero 50.6 2, Kelsey Leahy (Cambridge) Showcause 52.4 3, Dayna Fox (Otorohanga) LV Little Chief 54 4, Abby Lawrence (Te Puke) Django 54.1 5, Cherie Jacques (Otorohanga) Tobinator 55.6 6.
Vosper CNC105 Open A: Anna Mesman (Silverdale) Chester FW 30.8 penalty points 1, Anna Nelson (Aria) Cricket 32.5 2, Kaasandra Chee (Tauranga) Presque Noir 36.2 3, Paxton Conder (Tirau) Your Royal Highness 38.2 4, Melissa Armit (Cambridge) Barrington 38.8 5, Bridget Sullivan (Pukekohe) Judicious 41 6.
Vosper CNC105 Open B: Jeffrey Amon (Murupara) JA Take A Shot 1, Eden Doull (Pukekohe) Noble Value 29.4 2, Scout Lodder (Auckland) Pioneer Makokomiko 31.5 3, Anne Marie Styles (Papakura) Sharvalley Music 32 4, Sarah Bleakley (Whangarei) El Novio 32.5 5, Elleysha Eastell (Kumeu) Voluminous 34.8 6.