Jonelle Price has added another top trophy to the cabinet this morning, winning the Magic Millions British Open Championship CCI4*-S at Gatcombe Park aboard her 2018 Badminton winner Classic Moet.
The Kiwi eventer was delighted with the efforts of the 16-year-old black British bred mare she co-owns with Trisha Rickards. “It is the quintessential British event and I have never won here before,” she said. “It is Classic Moet’s cup of tea and is really vital Burghley preparation for us. Obviously, I have had a bit of a quiet year with her – she missed Badminton in the spring so I am just delighted to have her here, to putin such a good performance over all three phases and to have the win.”
She had plenty of praise for Captain Mark Phillips cross country course where she and Classic Moet were the fastest round of the day, adding just four time penalties. “Mark is getting very clever at slowing us down. When I came home with four time faults I thought I had done quite a lot to get that but I had some very fast guys to come behind me with Chris (Burton), (husband) Tim and Ollie (Townend), so I thought there was every chance someone might get it but testament to Phillips. It was a demanding track in all the right places – there were some real pinch points and certainly, Classic Moet probably showed all her experience and speed to do what she did today.”
Jonelle is now eyeing the prestigious Burghley Horse Trials next month. “It was very disappointing having to withdraw from Badminton in the spring but we don’t know sometimes why things happen and I keep looking ahead to Burghley and thinking maybe it is her year. It is just fantastic to have her here – she looks a picture of health and is obviously feeling very well. Hopefully, this really ticks the box in terms of our Burghley prep so we can consolidate from here and line up there in a month’s time.”
Jonelle and Classic Moet were eighth after the dressage and slipped to ninth after taking a rail in the showjumping but their brilliance shone in the cross country to finish on 35.6 penalties, taking both the one day crown and the £10,000 winner’s purse. In second place was Ben Hobday (GBR) aboard Shadow Man II on 37.8 and Nicholas Lacey (GBR) on Proud Courage rounded out the top three with a 40.8 effort.
The clock proved the undoing of many over the Captain Mark Phillips-designed course and with no-one inside time, despite nine clear rounds. Tim Price and Xavier Faer had two run-outsat a brush corner early in the course and picked up both time and jump penalties to finish 12th. Tim had predicted after the dressage that Jonelle would be the one to take the crown.
The horse details:
Xavier Faer – owned by Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price
Classic Moet – owned by Trisha Rickards and Jonelle Price
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ