Excitement is building as the clock counts down to the start of the CSIO5* Abu Dhabi – Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of United Arab Emirates.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand requested an invitation to the prestigious event last year, and there was much celebration when they got the green light just before Christmas. Samantha McIntosh, Richard Gardner, Daniel Meech and Bruce Goodin will compete as individuals as well as in the Nations Cup teams’ event. Chef d’equipe for the Kiwis is Ulrika Goodin.
There is plenty of experience in the team. At 42, McIntosh is the veteran of three FEI World Equestrian Games, an Olympic Games (2000) and was 13th at the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in 2000.
Her horses Estina and Check In 2 have been pretty consistent in recent seasons. Fifteen-year-old bay stallion Check In 2 has done well at 4* level, competed in the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final last year and was fifth in the 1.6m speed class at the CSIO5* Nations Cup Show at Gijon in Spain. The German-bred horse is by Bockmann’s Cordalme Z and out of Ilonka (by Lord Pezi).
Estina, a 14-year-old bay Belgian warmblood was third in the 1.45m at the CSIO5* Show in Gijon last year and has been consistent at 2* and 3* level. She is by Heartbreaker and out of Secret Love Wonderland (by Achil-Libero H).
Forty-eight-year-old Goodin has competed at four Olympic Games (1992, 2000, 2004 and 2008), as well as at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games. He is aboard the borrowed Bäckatorps Danny V.
“The rider Niclas Haking is a friend of ours and together with the owners have kindly let me ride him for this show,” says Goodin. “He is a little green at this level but I have known the horse for the last couple of years and always liked his quality and attitude.” The 10-year-old bay gelding is by Quasimodo Z and out of Zepper (by Lupicor).
Meech is recognised as New Zealand’s highest-placed individual showjumper at an Olympic Games with his 12th place finish in 2004. The 44-year-old also competed in 1996 at Atlanta. His 10-year-old bay Swedish warmblood mare competed at the CSIO5* Longines FEI Nations Cup Final Show last year. She is by Corlensky G and out of Cicilia (by Ciceron). His second mount Sitia-Blue, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, is by Stalypso and out of Graefin Sponeck (by Graf Sponeck).
Forty-seven-year-old Gardner competed aboard his 10-year-old Holsteiner Calisto 5 at last year’s Nations Cup last year. The German bred horse – who is by Colman and out of Tiffany I (by Quintero) has been consistently competing at 4* level, including a fifth in the 1.45m speed at the Salzburg Arena Messezentrum late last year.
Teams from Egypt, Jordan, Italy, Switzerland, Syria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and hosts United Arab Emirates will compete at the top-flight event.
The CSIO5* action starts on Wednesday (February 14) with a 1.45m speed class and the 1.5m Grand Prix qualifier. All team members automatically qualify for the Grand Prix. Thursday is another 1.45m speed round, and the 1.6m Grand Prix – an FEI World Equestrian Games qualifier – to follow. Friday is a rest day with a 1.5m accumulator and the FEI Nations Cup on Saturday. The prize purse for the Nations Cup is 200,000 Euro with 50,000 Euro to the rider with the best performance in both rounds.
Total prize money for the CSIO5* competitions is 653,200 Euro.
WHAT: CSIO5* Abu Dhabi – Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of United Arab Emirates
WHEN: February 14-17, 2018
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, UAE
The horse details:
Check In 2
AB Kastanjegärden & Daniel Meech & Fine NZL Syndicate
GestGestut Jennissen, Gut Nechen Agrar GmbH
Backatorps Danny V
Backatorp Gard & Ulf Ryder
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison