There were plenty of positives for the Kiwi eventers to take home from Le Grand Complet which finished in France this morning, and some promising performances from what many hope will be stars of the future.
World no.2 Tim Price backed up his win in Le Lion with victory in the 34-strong CCI3*-L aboard Happy Boy, coming home clear and inside time in the showjumping to finish on their dressage score of 27 penalty points. There was no room for error with Chris Burton (AUS) and Leopard’s Action right behind him on 28.1 and Thomas Carlile (FRA) aboard Cadet de Beliard in third on 28.7.
“I am very pleased with all the horses today,” said Tim. “Happy Boy was great, jumping a clear round – he is such a lovely jumper and I was just super pleased. He has come a long way this year on the dressage and then we were able to stay there through the jumping phases and the fellow in front of me had a rail. Rapt with him – two back to back wins at that level.”
He felt Wesko had showed his “experience and class” in the CCIO4*-S. “I just cantered around giving him a bit of a blow with all sights set on Pau for him so good prep. Spartaco I was really pleased with him. He is getting more mature and experience as an advanced horse.”
It was a French trifecta in the CCIO4*-S with Thibaut Vallette (FRA) and Qing du Briot IFCE winning on 27.8 penalty points, Thomas Carlile and Birmane second on 29 and Gwendolen Fer aboard Traumprinz third on 30.6. Just six combinations came home clear and inside time in the cross country, with time penalties the norm for the field.
Jonelle and Grappa Nera were the best of the Kiwis, finishing in 11th spot on 34.1 after coming home clear but picking up 1.2 time in the cross country. Jonelle and Grovine de Reve finished the day inside the top 20 on 36.4, and again were clear jumping but picked up time in the cross country.
“Very happy with today,” said Jonelle. “The little blip on McClaren was unfortunate. He was in line for a nice prize but it is our first run – his first big run since the worlds (FEI World Equestrian Games) two years ago so we are very much getting to know each other. I think it is something we can tidy up easily and really excited about what lies ahead for him.”
She felt Grovine de Reve and Grappa Nera were also “very classy”. “It was a tough enough track, rode quite strong, you had to be aggressive on the clock and the other two really demonstrated that they are good horses. Very happy we made the decision to come out here. It has been a really good competition – top quality field – with some very good horses and riders. The tracks were well up to scratch and all three phases you had to be spotless which is what it is about at this level so a really good opportunity to pitch ourselves and see where we are at. On the whole I am really excited – particularly the three (in the 4*) I think they are coming into their own so the next few years looks really bright for them.”
Tim finished on 45.2 and 45.7 with Spartaco and Wesko – again, all clear jumping but the exact time penalties on each horse. Bruce and Amiro Sky were also clear but had time to finish the day with a score of 60.9 in the 93-strong field. Jonelle and McClaren scored 62.6 across the three tests. Seventy-nine combinations completed the event.
The Nations’ Cup competition was won by France who finished the competition on 88.2 penalty points, The Netherlands was second on 121.8 and Great Britain third on 127.7. New Zealand were sixth with a tally of 143.
ESNZ high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom felt it was a pretty good weekend all round. “It can’t be measured off the Nations’ Cup result as our horses were doing their first 4* starts since last year and were guided accordingly,” he said. “They all rode very well and Tim enjoyed a second great win in the 3* with Happy Boy, following up on the success at Le Lion last year. The upper level horses showed good form and all finished well.”
Jonelle and Curly Girl’s 37.7 score saw them inside the top 20 in the CCI3*-S class which attracted 87 entries and was won by Stephane Landois (FRA) and Chaman Dumontceau on 26.7.
Jonelle and Faerie Magnifico were just off the podium in the tightly-contested CCI2*-L, finishing in fourth place on 29.5 after adding just .4 of a time penalty in the showjumping to her dressage tally. Nicholas Touzaint (FRA) and Absolut Gold HDC won the class on 28 with Astier Nicolas (FRA) and Alertamalib’or second on 28.3 and Matthieu Vanlandeghem (FRA) with Trouble Fete ‘Ene HN’ third on 29.4. Bruce and Ex Cavalier’s Law scored 40.7 across the three days in the 82-strong class.
The horse details:
Spartaco – owned by Tim and Jonelle Price
Wesko – owned The Windrush Equestrian Foundation and Tim Price
McClaren – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller, Jo Preston-Hunt, Philip Hunt and Jonelle Price
Grappa Nera – owned by The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price
Amiro Sky – owned by Bruce, Judy and Tom Haskell
Happy Boy – owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller
Curly Girl – owned by Kate Amin, Lucy Sangster, Kate Holmes and Jackie Olivier
Faerie Magnifico – owned by Trisha Rickards
Ex Cavalier’s Law – owned by Tammy Lake and Bruce Haskell
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law Photography / Eric KNOLL