A first-of-its-kind event at the Magic Millions has proven to be the perfect warm-up for Warrnambool export Jessica Pateman ahead of next month's Australian Jumping Championships.
Pateman competed in the inaugural Magic Millions show jumping event at Gold Coast on Sunday, where the 34-year-old and her homebred horse Celso guided their team to victory.
It resulted in a nice pay day for the winning team, who earned a share of $34,000 from a total prize purse of $100,000.
"My main goal is the Australian senior title at the Australian Championships, which is held at the start of February," Pateman said.
"That was another reason I was happy to go up (to Gold Coast) and have another jump around on a decent track in preparation for that."
"I've competed in (the championships) before, but not with Celso; this will be his first go at the seniors. I'm confident that he'll be competitive."
With teams of four randomly drawn for the Magic Millions event, Pateman was ecstatic to find herself grouped with three talented show jumpers.
"I've known two of the girls (Gabi Chugg and Emma Smith) for well over 10 years, and Frida (Lindgren), who rode first for us, I rode on another team with her up in Sydney in early December," she said.
"I was really happy to see I was on a team with them. I knew we'd have a good chance of being competitive, and if not winning, that we'd at least give it a red-hot crack.
"Frida actually rode with two broken ribs (on Sunday) so she did a pretty massive job to post a clear round for us."
I was a little bit nervous, but I have a lot of confidence in my horse Celso.Jessica Pateman
The team to beat heading into the final round , Pateman and Celso, a 13-year-old warmblood thoroughbred cross, were seeded as the final riders of the day.
With pressure mounting, Pateman said she knew exactly what needed to be done to secure the overall win.
"I was a little bit nervous, but I have a lot of confidence in my horse Celso," she said. "He's very reliable and consistent, and he doesn't need a lot of rehearsal."
After witnessing the success of the inaugural event first-hand, Pateman said she would "definitely" attend again if it was to run next year.
"It wasn't just the money (we went for), it was the prestige of having the Magic Millions getting behind show jumping," she said. "All the senior group of riders were keen to get up there and support it. We didn't want them to go to the trouble of putting something like this on and for it to flop. They wouldn't get around us in the future.
"All the very best riders that could go up did, and it put on a really good spectacle for people that were there."
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