Gisborne’s Catherine Neill has won the prestigious 83rd Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout at the 2017 Royal Melbourne Show.
Riding former racehorse SLM Mercedes, Ms Neill said the win was unexpected but very welcome.
‘‘It is mind-blowing, I can’t put it into words but it’s a great honour,’’ Ms Neill said.
Conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria as part of the Horses in Action Program, 23 talented riders competed for the prestigious honour, which is open to female riders aged 18 years and over.
‘‘I’ve had (SLM Mercedes) for 18 months — he was basically my dream horse and he’s been an amazing horse for me,’’ Ms Neill said.
‘‘He had a good workout this morning but I couldn’t have asked anything more from him. He was amazing.’’
Second place was awarded to Jess Stalling riding DP Polo, with third place awarded to Rebecca Farrow on Stage Presence.
The Garryowen, which was first held in 1934, honours Violet Murrell, who tragically died at age 29 while trying to save her three-time Royal Melbourne Show champion saddle horse, Garryowen, from a stable fire in 1934.
The winner of the Garryowen receives almost $8000 in prizes.