Blown Away with National Title

With squally wind gusts knocking down rails, the top-notch competition was only part of the challenge for Taupo teen Annabel Francis and mount Carado GHP.

The combination needed nothing short of a clear second round to win the Giltrap Audi World Cup Festival at Woodhill Sands.

First-round faults only added to the pressure for the Jeff McVean trained rider “It was certainly stressful having that rail as I knew there were a lot of good combinations coming back. I thought I had the first rail, but he just jumped amazing. I just tell myself to focus and keep calm and not to crack under pressure. I love his character. He adores a crowd and likes to know everyone is watching him.”.


Riding for the New Zealand’s FEI Jumping World Cup league title, the 18-year old and her Australian-import delivered. Francis’ victory over eight other combinations in the season finale, made her one of the youngest ever to win the country’s highest-ranked international series, “It is so unexpected, I am very happy and it amazing to have won. I knew I just had to jump a clear round in the second. He has felt good all show and really wanted to win today.”

The six-round series was held across the North Island, with just the top four counting towards overall standings. The Giltrap Audi Festival is the third World Cup class Francis has won this season, but in the other two she nominated the wrong horse, so didn’t get valuable points.

Francis has now earned the chance to represent the nation at the FEI World Cup Final, scheduled to be held March 31-April 5, 2021, in Gothenburg Sweden, but with a global pandemic goes ahead or not is uncertain. She says she will wait and see what pans out before making a final decision on whether she would go to the final or not.