Tim Price is the sole Kiwi in the top 10 after the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Price is “very” pleased with Ringwood Sky Boy’s 25.8 penalty point effort which sees him in sixth place and 1.9 behind leader Rosalind Canter (GBR) aboard Allstar B.
“Just a horse at his best doing his best work,” says Price. “I am very, very happy with Sky Boy. The new scoring system squashes us all up which is a new feeling to be part of but that is just what it is. It is everything to play for from that position.”
Price said the horse had never been as relaxed in the arena at Badminton as he was today. “That was really enjoyable. He has felt great all year to be honest, and is coming of age – even though he is quite old.”
Price is looking forward to the cross country and buoyed to see the ground improving every hour. “Hopefully it doesn’t rain again because the water table is pretty high. It is soaking away nicely but a little bit of rain and we would have water sitting everywhere.”
And he’s looking to wife Jonelle to go well in her dressage tomorrow too. “Hopefully Jonelle nails it tomorrow and we can be a good Team Price and have a good Badminton.”
Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II are the next best of the Kiwis in 11th spot on 27.9, with defending champ Andrew Nicholson and Nereo in 18th on 30.3, Caroline Powell and Up UP and Away in 21st equal on 34.1, Dan Jocelyn on Dassett Cool Touch in 28th on 37, and first-timers Andy Daines on Spring Panorama on 40.3 and Virginia Thompson aboard Star Nouveau on 43.6.
At first glance, with the top 16 all sub-30 the leaderboard looks incredible, but remember, we are now in the era of the removal of the dressage multiplier, which puts more influence on the cross country. Equiratings – the experts in all things numbers – say a 45 in the old system is now a 30.
Nicholson felt his Spanish-bred chestnut was actually missing a little atmosphere from going so early on the first day. “It is quite a while since he has been into these big arenas with it not being Friday afternoon when the stands are jam-packed,” he said.
Nicholson is picking the going to be quite soft for Saturday’s cross country. “I think even if we have a heat wave by Saturday, the course will ride tiring all the way round. It is good safe ground. Horses don’t do injuries in it but they just get tired.”
Powell and Up Up and Away were the first combination into the arena overnight. “I was very pleased with him,” she said. “He is a young horse and has quite a young brain on him.”
Thompson felt Star Nouveau had been nervous in her test but at the same time, did some stunning work. “Bring on the cross country.”
The remainder of the 78-strong field will complete their dressage overnight.
Click Play to listen to an interview with Andrew Nicholson after Dressage:
Click Play to listen to an interview with Caroline Powell after
CLICK HERE to view the full results and all start lists and times
NZ RIDERS START TIMES
Jonelle Price & Classic Moet
Fri 4th 12.22pm
Fri 4th 11.22pm
Mark Todd & Kiltubrid Rhapsody
Fri 4th 3.56pm
Sat 5th 2.56am
Caroline Powell & On The Brash
Fri 4th 4.12pm
Sat 5th 3.12am
Dressage Day Two
Fri 4th May 9.00am – 5.00pm
Sat 5th 8.00pm – 4.00am
Sat 5th May 11.30am – 5.00pm
Sat 5th 10.30pm – 4.00am
Jumping – First Part
Sun 6th May 11.30am
Sun 6th 10.30pm
Jumping – Top 20
Sun 6th May 2.45pm
Mon 7th 1.45am
CLICK HERE to watch all the coverage FREE via Badminton TV including the First Horse Inspection
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ