Thoroughbreds were at their versatile best last weekend when competing in the Dunstan Ex-Factor competition at Papatoetoe Pony Club.
Run by Beyond the Barriers’ Gina Schick and Nicky Wallace, the two-day competition saw the entrants compete over a range of classes from Best Presented to Working Equation, with the thoroughbreds displaying their aptitude for a variety of tasks
For the first year there were two sections, the original Dunstan Ex-Factor class for those horses who began their sporthorse education after 1 October 2020, and the new Ex-Factor Pre-School for horses who began their sporthorse education after 1 October 2021.
“It was a lot more of a quieter atmosphere this year as we usually hold it as part of a bigger event like Equifest,” Schick said. “That was probably beneficial for those horses who are a little bit greener than we have seen in previous years due to the lack of events and competitions impacted by COVID.
“It was a really high standard of horses presented across the board and I think people get better and better each year.
“We have a really good range of classes that show the horses off whatever their strengths are. I think more riders are becoming more willing to have a go having watched previous years.
“It is a great competition and we see a range of horses from the unraced to the really good racehorses such as Scott Base this year.”
Scott Base (Dalghar x Extra Celestial) was ridden by Julie Wylie-Parkinson and the pair were crowned winners of the gavelhouse.com Best Presented and Conditioned. The seven-year-old gelding was a standout on the track with his five wins including the Karaka Million 3YO, the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas and the Gr2 Japan trophy with earnings of over $730,000.
Other well-known names to have competed in the popular event are Start Wondering (Eighth Wonder x Roseanbar), Sacred Star (Flying Spur x Irish Nova) and Fritzy Boy (Brilliance x Fritzy Girl).
“It is really neat seeing these horses go on post racing and do well,” Schick said. “The Ex-Factor is a great opportunity to showcase how well they are doing and in this case, a really short space of time since changing careers.
“We couldn’t do it without our sponsors. Dunstan are fantastic and have been onboard since day one, I think we have been running this for seven years. They are very generous and are happy to get in behind it. They are our main supporters but we have many that sponsor classes and the riders are always blown away by the sponsorship and the prizes on offer.”
Overall honours went to talented young horsewoman Scout Lodder and Marty McFly (Dandy Man x Opera Comica) who raced as Legendary Hero in Hong Kong.
The NZTBA Judges’ Choice award was presented to Kendra Rogers and Tia Celeste (Niagara x Gemina) who competed in the Pre-School event. Tia Celeste was bred and raced by Rogers’ parents, Kendayla Park’s Russell and Robyn Rogers and was a winner of three races and placed on a further three occasions.
Tia Celeste is the first thoroughbred Kendra Rogers has produced though one of her regular mounts is thoroughbred schoolmaster One Cool Dude (One Cool Cat x Rose of Tralee). -Amie Best, NZTBA