Elite Jewellery | A Man of Mystery

Exceed and Excel gelding, Elite Jewellery, was born in 2007 at Whakanui Stud in New South Wales, before moving to New Zealand in 2008 as an Unnamed yearling. While in New Zealand, Elite Jewellery was purchased at the 2009 Karaka New Zealand Bloodstock sales for $350,000 by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and was flown over that same year. In 2011, he returned to Australian soil and was officially named Elite Jewellery, beginning his racing career with Peter Moody. He then trained under Paul Tapper for nine starts, claiming two wins and one second, and earnt connections $19,670.

Following his retirement, Elite Jewellery was rehomed to talented horseman, Les Bunning, who took the gelding on for retraining. Following work with Les, Elite Jewellery was rehomed to the late Hans Gelderman, creator of the inaugural Busselton Show Jumping Classic. It was with Hans that Elite Jewellery (Vitus) was introduced to young rider, Tessa Lill.

Tessa was 15 at the time and visiting Hans with her dad to purchase some jumps and fillers. Hans suggested Tessa have a ride on Vitus, who blew Tessa and her father away with his impressive temperament, rideability and jump. Tessa left that day with jumps and her new horse, Vitus.

Vitus was described by Tessa as a big personality. He is top of the pecking order in the paddock and strong willed, however, is impeccably mannered around his riders. Vitus is safe enough for beginners to ride and required a lot of motivation to produce energy even when jumping the higher heights. Despite being bred for speed, Vitus prefers a slower-paced lifestyle.

“… he was rather difficult to get into a hot and energetic mind-frame. We tried oats, lucerne, racing muesli and still, he was the same relaxed horse,” Tessa said.

Tessa and Vitus competed up to 1.20m in young riders and junior classes, winning the Yalambi Speed Class and placing second in the Young Rider Class at Swan River Show Jump Club Championships, before Vitus was sold onto Olivia Muir in 2020. Olivia had been on the lookout for her first horse after learning to ride at local riding schools. Vitus proved to be the perfect mount for Olivia as he was quiet, slow and a real schoolmaster after his time with Tessa.

“Some might’ve said I was insane for buying a 17hh off the track thoroughbred as my first horse, but he really did look after me.” Olivia commented.

Vitus and Olivia developed a quick partnership, projecting Olivia’s riding career from riding school student to competitive show jumper competing over a meter at State Championship events. Despite his calm and docile nature under saddle, Vitus remains the king of the paddock, fending off any horses who dare to enter his personal space.
Tessa commented that although her wins on Vitus were special, she enjoyed watching him excel alongside Olivia just as equally.

Together Olivia and Vitus have accomplished a great deal, placing third in the 1.05m at WA State Show Jumping Championships in 2021, along with many other fantastic results. Vitus is now on lease to another adult rider, teaching him to jump.

We wish Vitus and his riders past and present, all the best from OTTWA.

  • Eric Lloyd Photography - Tessa Lill

  • Eric Lloyd Photography - Tessa Lill

  • Eric Lloyd Photography - Olivia Muir

  • Eric Lloyd Photography - Olivia Muir

  • Eric Lloyd Photography - Olivia Muir