iSpyHorses --  Sun, 24-Nov-2019

EQUITANA Auckland has been a happy hunting ground for Natasha Brooks who last night flew through the flags aboard Twerk to take victory in the Harrison Lane Grand Prix.
The Cambridge rider had two in the 13-strong class – her purpose-bred warmblood thoroughbred cross Twerk and her brother Nick’s Versace C.
Lex Peddie’s tight-turning indoor track tested the combinations with eight coming back for the second round. Clear in the opener were Natasha with both Twerk and Versace C, Samantha Peters (Cambridge) aboard Caesar NZPH, teen Leeshelle Small (Auckland) on Glenbrooke Archie Bunker, Elmo Jackson (Auckland) with Fairview Animation, and Lucy Olphert on her home-bred mare Eve Saint Laurent. Joining them in the second round were eight-faulters Glen Beal (Te Kauwhata) aboard All Expenses of Renton and Samantha Matthews (Cambridge) with Adloo Annabelle.
The planks at the last in the second round proved the undoing of a few including Natasha aboard Versace C who came flying into the fence after slicing corners where there seemed to be no space, only to pick up four faults but still be good enough for fourth.
“I only decided a week ago to come to EQUITANA and it worked out so well,” said Natasha. “This is just a fantastic event to be a part of. The surface couldn’t have been any better and I think EQUITANA Auckland is such a cool initiative bringing equestrian into the middle of the city like they do overseas for a real showcase.”
Earlier in the show Natasha won the 1.35m open with Versace C and was second in the 1.25m aboard Twerk. But winning the premium class of the show was the icing on the cake. “It has been a while between drinks and it is good to be back in the winner’s circle.”
Twerk was the first of the clear rounds to come back in the second and Natasha knew she had to really push the boundaries if she wanted to challenge those who were to follow her.
“That jump-off (with Twerk) was a bit hectic but I had to give it a whirl and just see what happened,” she said. The combination most definitely had a life towards the end of the track but incredibly the rails all stayed in their cups. “He knew the general rule was to leave the ground and because we were going a bit quicker he had a moment of confusion.”
The audience had their hearts in their mouth, but Natasha pushed on to take the win. She was equally brave in her jump-off with Versace C who she says has been beautifully produced by her brother who was now based in the United Kingdom. “I am very lucky to get the fun bit at the end.”
She thoroughly enjoyed riding in the indoor arena. “It was just awesome riding in that environment. It is super exciting and it is so good to have something like this in New Zealand. Both my horses coped incredibly well in there.”
Natasha wasn’t the only star in the Brooks/Vincent household. Fiancé Keith scored an impressive century in his cricket today. “It was a good day for the team.” And she tipped her hat to her mum, coach Jeff McVean and groom Emily Wright. “Wrangling Versace out the back is no mean feat.”
Earlier in the day four time Kiwi showjumping Olympian Bruce Goodin held a well-attended masterclass and the IRT The Way of The Horse moved through its third round of competition and with the grand finale on Sunday.

Natasha Brooks and Twerk riding to victory in the Harrison Lane Grand Prix at EQUITANA Auckland. Photo by Libby Law Photography