Hilary and Oaks Milky Way were once again given the opportunity to represent Australia, this time at the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona this weekend. Only three months ago they were part of the team which won Australia a place in the teams jumping competition at the Paris 2024 Olympics and in Barcelona they once again represented with distinction.
Australia was not only up against some of the powerhouse nations of world jumping, but they only had a team of three combinations and would not have the luxury of a drop score.
In the opening Nations’ Cup class, Chris Burton riding Chedington Hazy Toulana incurred a total of 12 faults and Jamie Kermond and the Oaks Sport Horses bred Yandoo Oaks Constellation a further 8 faults. Hilary and ‘Milky” took just a single rail, however, their time was just a fraction slower than they might have liked, incurring a time penalty by being just 0.05 seconds outside the time allowed. All three riders, despite putting together a team total of 25, were clear right up until the past line of fences, a fact which pleased recently appointed Australian Chef d’Equipe, Stephen Lamb. Australia finished in 13th place which meant that they along with the all the nations finishing outside the top 8, would go on to compete in the Challenge Cup, two days later.
The Challenge Cup, against some very strong teams, saw Australia outdo themselves, finishing second, only after a jump off with the Netherlands when both Nations were tied on four penalties. Hilary and Oaks Milky Way put in a great performance for the Aussie team, with a clear round in a great time, with only seven of the 27 combinations going faster. Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation also recorded a clear round and it was just a single rail by Christopher Burton and Chedington Hazy Toulana which prevented a perfect team score. The Netherlands had two of their four riders record four penalties, however, with the luxury of a discard score, their team total was also four.
Christopher Burton and Chedington Hazy Toulana represented Australia in the jump off, however a single rail was not enough to deny The Netherlands the victory after their jump off combination went clear.
It was a fantastic result for Hilary and Milky Way. Competing at the highest level in two Nations Cup events, they put in two great rounds with only a single rail down and time penalty by the barest margin.
We are very proud to have bred two-thirds of the horses on this Australian team which performed so courageously. The fact that Oaks Milky Way and Yandoo Oaks Constellation, now 16 years and 17 years respectively both have the Jalisco B mare Galaxie Pierville as their dam, demonstrates the strength of our breeding program. Imagine if they both went to Paris 2024 as team mates! While there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge before the Australian Olympic Team is selected, we are confident that neither combination did their chances of selection any harm whatsoever. Time will tell!
Photos Credit: Libby Law Photography.