What a difference a day can make! Kiwi eventing combinations fill three of the top 10 slots at the end of a big cross country day at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in the United States.
Tim Price and Xavier Faer are the best, sitting in third place after coming home clear and inside time over the Derek di Grazia-designed course. Jonelle Price and Grovine de Reve were also clear to sit in sixth equal, with Tim and Bango ninth with their clear effort, and Jonelle aboard Classic Moet clear and inside time for 12th spot.
Jesse Campbell and Diachello are in 16th equal, Jonelle and Grappa Nera 23rd – both combinations were clear but picked up time penalties, with Joe Meyer and Johnny Royale adding an unfortunate 20 after a duck out to end the day in 43rd place. There are just three penalty points between the top seven combinations, with Oliver Townend (GBR) and Ballaghmor Class at the front of the field on 27.3 penalty points.
ESNZ high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom says all of the New Zealanders competing at the event shone. “It was a fantastic day,” he said. “Everybody rode very aggressively – the track required it. Tim, Jonelle and Jesse all stepped up. They were all very close to the time.”
Tim was really happy with his horses and the wider team. “The whole team synergy has been great,” he said. “My horses were super – Bango was the first one out and was very bold and brave. I managed to keep him coming on the clock. Sometimes he can get a little bit strong and then I have to slow down a bit so I was happy with his round.”
Bango came home clear with just 1.2 time penalties to move from 24th to ninth position on a score of 32.7 penalty points.
“Xavier Faer was just super – he was very rideable, knew his job and jumped a beautiful round. I am so rapt with him.” The horse was one of just four to be clear and inside time.
Jonelle was also very pleased with her trio of horses. “I couldn’t be happier really. It was a big day at the office but good to be done,” she said. “All our horses went as well as we could hope for . . . and the wider team as well. We are really delighted and happy.”
Jonelle said she had three “super” rides. “Grappa Nera was a little green in the first four minutes but then she really came home well. It was a big track for a first-timer, especially coming first out of the box, so I thought she coped remarkably well.”
Grappa Nera moved from 48th to 23rd after coming home clear but with time penalties. The sit on 43.2 penalty points.
Classic Moet had given her a beautiful ride to come home clear and inside time to move from 46th to 12th. The combination had been held on course and initially given time penalties which were later removed. She felt Grovine de Reve had not been outclassed at all with a clear round and just 0.4 time penalties to move from 20th to sixth equal.
Jesse Campbell who was having his first 5*-L start with Diachello, was very pleased and finished the day on 38.7 after a clear jumping round with time penalties. “I couldn’t have asked for any more from him,” he said. “He was brilliant and it was awesome. He doesn’t have a tonne of experience behind him with only two long formats in the bag over the last couple of seasons. For him to come here was a big ask but he really delivered.”
The horse had started to run out of steam a little at the eight minute mark but Jesse says he had just kept on jumping and wanting to answer the questions. “I am just so excited for his future because he is a lovely horse – we had a great time out there.”
Joe was unlucky to have a 20 late in the course. “It was really unfortunate,” said Graeme. “The horse was going really well and they were having a lovely round until that (at fence 17).”
As expected, the time was tough to make with just four combinations coming home clear and inside time – Tim with Xavier Faer, Jonelle with Classic Moet, Harry Meade (GBR) aboard Superstition and Kevin McNab (AUS) and Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam. Their efforts saw them power up the leaderboard – Tim from 11th equal to third, Harry from 17th equal to fourth, Kevin from 21st equal to sixth equal, and Jonelle from 46th to 12th.
Forty-five combinations completed the cross country, with 15 eliminations, one retirement and two withdrawals. The combinations proved the undoing for most of those who faced the long walk home.
Graeme said the footing had been excellent with the rain holding off for most of the field and even when the rain really started coming in, the ground held up well.
All the New Zealand horses had pulled up well and the team were all looking forward to tomorrow’s showjumping. “The team was unbelievable – all the grooms were great, the health horse fantastic and the horses all looking really good,” he said.
Joe Meyer and Clip Clop were eliminated from the CCI4*-S, which is still lead by Tamra Smith (USA) and Envogue.
The Horse Details:
Grappa Nera – owned by The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price
Bango – owned by The Numero Uno Syndicate
Johnny Royale – owned by Team Johnny Syndicate
Classic Moet – owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
Diachello – owned by Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell
Xavier Faer – owned by Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller and Jonelle Price
Clip Clop – owned by Theresa and Madison Foote and Joe Meyer
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison