When it comes to internationally-acclaimed showjumping champions, South Africa boasts some of the most elite competitors. And this year’s Nissan Winter Classic, taking place at the Shongweni Club from 13 to 17 June, welcomes a really dynamic lineup of first-class riders.
This year’s Team Nissan includes well-known showjumper, Oscar Ncube. The 34-year-old rider, who hails from Alexandra, is joined by Lorette Knowles-Taylor, Barry Taylor and Liam Stevens in the team this year.
Boasting South African colours and an impressive riding career that spans 22 years, Ncube will be competing in this year’s open classes. “The Nissan Winter Classic is one of the shows I look forward to most every year,” said Ncube. “There is such a great atmosphere, and it’s not just about the riders, but the spectators as well. The fun 6-Bar class is great for the audience, there’s a fun children’s zone – it’s just really entertaining all round!”
Oscar Ncube (Kyalami). (Image credit: Tamara & Blake Images)
Chris van Der Merwe
Joining the 2019 line-up is 25-year-old Chris van der Merwe, the Limpopo-based rider who just took both the Nissan Easter Festival and Reonet World Cup titles. He adds these two titles to an impressive record during his 20-year-career which includes winning two President’s Cups, an Outdoor Grand Prix, the 1.35 and 1.40 SA Champs in 2017, the 1st Qualifier of World Cup this year as well as placing 3rd in the 2nd Qualifier of World Cup.
Van Der Merwe, sponsored by BB Auto Nissan Polokwane and Studs Clothing, will be riding Conrad and Rene Fourie’s mare, Chantilly and Crash Man – his two World Cup horses. He will also be riding the two-time winner of the 2018 and 2019 6-Bar contest, Capital Castigo at this year’s Nissan Winter Classic.
“Chantilly is my best horse and one of the top three leading horses in the World Cup so far,” he said. “Crash Man is new to the World Cup series but he’s feeling good and he’s getting there!”
The Nissan Winter Classic holds many great memories for Van Der Merwe including winning the Young Rider’s Series on his horse, Little Big Time. It was also where he jumped his first World Cup Qualifier on Domino in 2014.
“Shongweni is always a great show to attend,” said Van der Merwe. “I think the atmosphere is always one of the best aspects about it. It makes me, as a rider, want to be better. I think the spectators definitely bring a great atmosphere to the show. Shongweni Club puts on a great show every year!”
Chris van der Merwe. (Image credit: Denford Studios)
Showing off her skills in the 1.40m classes this year will be 20-year-old Cayleigh Triggol, a Joburg-based showjumper who will be competing on Callaho’s Babiche VH Gehucht Z.
“I am so excited for this year’s competition – it is one of my favourite shows of the year!” said Triggol. “The venue is amazing, the horses love the course, and the show always has such a lovely, family vibe.”
Triggol has a great showjumping career, with wins in the 2nd Qualifier for SA Champs in 2017 and the 1.35m at the Easter Festival Champs the previous year. It was that same year that she jumped in her first 1.50m World Cup Qualifier at the Nissan Winter Classic, riding her special mare, Callaho’s Louisa, who passed away earlier this year.
This event is always made more special for Triggol as she’s joined by her father, Govett (47) and brother, Thomas (18) – both phenomenal showjumpers in their own right. Thomas won the Junior President’s Cup and Junior Easter Festival Outdoor Grand Prix in 2017 and the 1.45m Rider’s Tour Grand Prix at the Nissan Winter Festival last year. Govett also boasts many career wins including the 2015 Midrand World Cup Qualifier and this year’s Puresan Brits World Cup Qualifier.
Cayleigh Triggol. (Image credit: Denford Studios)
What to expect from this year’s event?
The five-day competition consists of 39 showjumping events including the 1.15 Filtec Pony Riders Championship and 1.50m Nissan Riders Grand Prix Tour; the Nissan 6-Bar event (for juniors and adults); the 1.40m Nissan Championships and the main title class – the 1.5m Nissan FEI World Cup Qualifier.
Alongside the showjumping entertainment, visitors to the Nissan Winter Classic can look forward to family fun in the form of a dedicated Nissan children’s zone, the popular Nissan vehicle display and test drive, and a range of quality market stalls which will include food and beverage options.
For more information about the Nissan Winter Classic, check ‘The Winter Classic’ and ‘SA Showjumping’ on Facebook or visit www.foresyte.co.za.