Jumping into Easter Carnival

EQUINE ACTION: There will be plenty to behold at Blue Lake Sports Park this weekend when the 2024 Mount Gambier Showjumping Easter Carnival takes place. Picture: FILE

James Murphy

EASTER weekend is upon us and with it comes a handful of annual sporting events.

One of those is the Mount Gambier Easter Showjumping Carnival, which will take place at Blue Lakes Sports Park over four days.

The 2024 event is filled with talent and a strong field will have an excess of 900 rounds contested across the weekend.

“We are looking pretty good,” Mount Gambier Showjumping Club president David Johnson told The Border Watch in the lead up to the event.

“Entries are good and over the four days we are expecting just over 900 rounds on the two arenas.

“It is a bit up on what we have had over the last few years.”

As per previous years the cycling velodrome will be utilised as the main arena, while the club has secured a second location thanks to one of the neighbouring sporting leagues.

“We have been able to work out an arrangement with the baseball association,” Johnson said.

“We are going to use Diamond 3 there as a second arena.

“It keeps all the competition close together.”

Through this arrangement, riders will not need to travel to another location for events, with everything contained within the one venue.

That would be welcome news for many, with several competitors already having their fair share of travel to attend the event.

“We have a few coming from Adelaide, Gippsland over in eastern Victoria, Deniliquin (NSW), Numurkah (Vic), so some folks are travelling between six and eight hours,” Johnson said.

Numbers are strong for the carnival and Johnson said entries neared 90 riders.

Among those are several local equestrians, the likes of the experienced Kristy Bruhn, Libby Halliday and youngster Shae Tweedle.

“We have a good lot of local riders coming in,” Johnson said.

“We will see quite a few of those in the second arena and we will also see a good number of those in the velodrome.

“Kristy Bruhn doesn’t have a horse in the main class, but she will be competitive in the other ones.

“Neville Copping is an old hand at this and it is great to see him still riding.”

Also in the field will be Australian and World Cup champions, along with others who have competed at those high levels.

“There are some quality people coming through,” Johnson said.

“For the old football followers out there, Don Scott is returning.

“We haven’t seen Don for a couple of years but he will be here.”

There will be plenty of equine action to see on all four days, with three events kicking off the 2024 Carnival today.

“If you look at Friday, there are two welcome stakes, one is a 105cm and the other is a 120cm,” Johnson said.

“Then to round the day off we do a 110-115cm speed championship.

“There are 26 rounds in that and I think it will be pretty exciting finish to the first day of competition.”

Saturday will have a 120cm Stake and 130cm Stake, both with good sized fields, while on Sunday the feature event will be the David Clark Memorial.

Sunday will also provide some entertainment for the kids, with an Easter egg hunt taking place within the velodrome arena.

Monday will boast the two big features of the weekend, with the City of Mount Gambier Senior Grand Prix and the John Wilsher Memorial Blue Lake Stakes.

Those events always attract a quality field of competitors and will cap off a big weekend on the showjumping calendar.