Team Price are on fire after a brilliant day of cross country in the CCI5* at Les Etoiles de Pau in France.
Tim and Wesko have moved up to third place after a lovely clear and adding just a smidgen of time to his tally to end the day on 23.4 penalty points. “Wesko was just super,” says the world No. 2. “He just nipped and tucked and jumped beautifully and stayed with me all the way home so I couldn’t be more thrilled to demonstrate what a cool horse he is even in his older age so that was really fun.”
Jonelle was also over the moon with Grovine de Reve with a round her husband called all class and showed her “utter ability to make it look easy”.
“I am delighted with Grovine de Reve today,” says Jonelle. “I thought it was a proper 5* track out there. Pierre Michelet certainly set a fair test. I don’t think he went light on us given it has been an unusual year. We came in here a run short so you never quite know – obviously my horse didn’t have the experience of the other ones but he really rose to the challenge and equipped himself very well. He was incredibly genuine. He showed all the attributes of a top horse so I am really excited about the future with him – not that I wasn’t before but it is certainly a milestone when you get to this point and then another one to have such a great round. So I am very pleased and looking forward to tomorrow’s jumping.”
The combination moved up 10 spots on the leaderboard with a clear round and again just a little time to finish the day in 13th on 33.5 penalty points. Tim is right behind her in 14th on 33.6 after a clear round with a little time.
“Ringwood Sky Boy was like my old mate but he went as fast he possibly could,” said Tim. “He can trip around Burghley and get close to the time there but here it is just so fast and furious and twisty and rapid that that is as fast as we can go and stay upright. He was very honest and knows his job and I was really pleased with him.”
Xavier Faer slid into the top 20 with his clear jumping effort that sees him sit on 37.1 penalty points. As Tim’s pathfinder he gave his rider a good refence of the course.
“It has been a great day of sport,” said Tim. “It was so fun to have a lovely sunny day. It was a great course. It was a true 5* where it brought the best out in the top riders and horses, and I had three quite differing rides but the plans worked for all of them. I think everyone here has just enjoyed a great day’s sport at the top level when there hasn’t been a lot to get too excited at that top levels at the 5* level this year. We are looking forward to a good day tomorrow with all the horses.”
His words were reiterated by ESNZ high performance manager Graeme Thom. “It exemplifies how assiduously both Tim and Jonelle approach the sport and its competitors. They truly rose to the occasion today and competed at the only 5* of the year as though there had been a profusion of them.”
He also tipped his hat to the team behind, including the horses’ owners “for a successful day of sport”.
Laura Collett (GBR) and London 52 remain at the front of the field on 21.3 penalty points with Piggy March (GBR) and Brookfield Inocent moving up to second on 22.2 and Tim right on their heels with his 23.4 penalty point score. Ten combinations were clear and inside time, with three retirements, one elimination and two withdrawals, including Jonelle’s Faerie Dianimo. Forty-one combinations remain in the field.
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THE HORSE DETAILS:
Faerie Dianimo – owned by Trisha Rickards and Jacky Green
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller, Jo Preston Hunt, Philip Hunt and Jonelle Price
Ringwood Sky Boy – owned by Varenna Allen and Tim Price
Wesko – owned by The Windrush Equestrian Foundation and Tim Price
Xavier Faer – owned by Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Peter Nixon Photography