Chugg makes it a hat trick
Glossodia's Chris Chugg and Vivant were crowned Australian Senior Jumping Champions for the third consecutive year last weekend at Exhibition Park in Canberra. South Australian Wendy Schaeffer kept the pressure on Chugg to finish Runner-Up. This is the fifth time Chugg has won the title.
Chugg and Vivant were truly poetry in motion all week and looked destined to make a clean sweep of the Senior Championship when he and Vivant won both the qualifying classes on the first two days of competition. However a single rail down in the first round of Peter Cooke's testing course in Sunday's Horseland Grand Prix left room for the ever-competitive Wendy Schaeffer to pounce.
Vivant jumped a clear second round to finish the class in third place which was good enough to secure the title of Australian Senior Champion by 2.5 points.
"I did six strides down the line when seven was probably a safer option and it cost me the rail but it was a decision made with the National Coach to try and push ourselves, we knew that I only had to finish fifth in the class to win the Championship so I could afford to use Sunday as a training run," said Chugg who plans to campaign Vivant in Europe for seven months in the lead-up to the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky next year.
"Seven months of pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone will give us the mileage needed to be really competitive on the final day of any international competition," added Chugg.
1996 Olympic Eventing Gold Medallist Schaeffer had been keeping Chugg honest throughout the competition finishing third and fourth in the two qualifying classes. Koyuna Sun Set looked super confident and never stopped trying for Schaeffer. Faultless jumping and the fastest time of the day on Sunday made them deserving winners of the class and Runner-Up Senior Champions.
Paul Athanasoff on Wirragulla Nicklaus from Dungog (NSW) jumped two very impressive clear rounds on Sunday but was beaten on the clock by the competitive Schaeffer to finish the class in second place and third overall in the Senior Championship.
Chugg also placed fourth in the Senior Championship point score on ASB Conquistador. Victoria's Becky Allen and Koyuna Ted finished in fourth place in the class and fifth place in the Senior Championship.
The Young Rider Championship was won by Hilary Scott of The Oaks (NSW) riding Oaks Miss Scarlet. The title of Junior Australian Jumping Champion went to Sydney's Monique Barrett and Deo Juvante.
For full results please see www.equestrian.org.au