What a weekend for Team Price with both Tim and Jonelle atop the podium at Concours d’Arville in Belgium. Eventing’s golden couple took the quinella in the CCI4*-S Event Rider Masters class with Jonelle winning the CCI2*-S for six-year-olds.
But it wasn’t without some drama. Initially Chris Burton (AUS) and Quality Purdey were announced as winners after seeming to have gone clear and inside time but the ground jury then awarded them 11 (frangible) penalties for knocking the front element of the triple bar at fence 11, dropping him to third.
That opened the door for world no.1 Tim to snatch the lead in the CCI4*-S ERM with Wesko as the only combination to come home clear and inside time in the Rüdiger Schwarz-designed cross country – the final test of the competition. They were fourth after the dressage and third after the showjumping, to finish the event on their dressage score of 30.5 penalty points – the only combination to do so. It is Tim’s first win in the cash-rich ERM Series.
“I am super happy with Wesko,” said Tim. “It is great to have him at the top of a leaderboard again and he has finished very well. A bit frustrated with my dressage – I would have liked to have been tidily in the lead then and then followed through with the jumping phases but it was fun the way it worked out. It is really cool to have both of us up at the top of the podium. I have never won one of the masters before, so that was cool to hold one of these big plastic cheques and spray some champagne about!”
He was quick to put plenty of kudos back to his horse. “The good horses make you look good, don’t they,” said Tim. “I have missed him because of moments like that.” Wesko has not long been back in eventing competition mode after 10 months on the side line. “He’s just so exceptional. He is a fantastic horse. Of course it is a partnership and we have been together for a long time, so it was great to showcase that.”
Jonelle and Faerie Dianimo powered their way up the leaderboard after sitting in seventh at the end of the dressage, moving up a spot in the showjumping and taking second with their effort in the showjumping to end the day on 39.1.
Jonelle’s second-place effort was also her best effort in the ERM Series and her first time back on the podium since finishing third at Blenheim Palace with Cloud Dancer in 2016.
“It’s a great result,” said Jonelle. “It is not every day that you manage to pull these sort of results off. It is always a bit special – for me personally it is just lovely to have Maggie May (Faerie Dianimo) back in business. Good horses make our job easy and Wesko and Faerie Dianimo are certainly two of the very best so it is nice we did our part and didn’t let them down and they were able to shine through.”
Jonelle said that while Faerie Dianimo was “quite busy and a bit of a handful – a good handful”, she was a feisty little thing. “A twisty, turny track shows that a bit more but she showed all her experience and it is just fantastic to have her back at this level.”
Faerie Dianimo’s last international start was her victory in the CCI5*-L at Luhmuhlen mid 2018. She was also Jonelle’s Rio Olympic Games mount.
Overnight leader Gemma Tattersall (GBR) and Quicklook V retired on the cross country after a run-out at the first water complex, with third-placed Chris Burton (AUS) and Quality Purdey earning enough points to move to the top of the leaderboard on 54 with Jonelle breathing down his neck on 46 and Tim in eighth spot on 30. Just 13 combinations completed all three tests, with two retiring during today’s cross country and two others withdrawing beforehand.
In the CCI2*-S for six-year-olds, Jonelle led from the start to take the win aboard Faerie Magnifico in the 25-strong class. The duo added four penalties in the showjumping to end the competition on 33.4 penalty points, just .4 ahead of second-placed Lola Madrenas (BEL) aboard Valentino de Nine Z.
The horse details:
Wesko – owned by The Windrush Equestrian Foundation
Faerie Dianimo – owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
Faerie Magnifico – owned by Trisha Rickards
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by ERM