The Prague Nations’ Cup class didn’t produce the finish the Kiwis were after, but the riders were still taking positives out of their performances.
New Zealand were one of 14 teams to line up in the class but didn’t make the cut for the second round where the top eight went head to head for honours. In the end it was hosts the Czech Republic who won the day, finishing on a total of six faults from the two rounds, followed by Denmark on eight and Belgium on nine.
Bruce Goodin and Backatorps Danny V were first out for the Kiwis, finishing on four faults, followed by Richard Gardner on Calisto 5 who had eight faults, Tom Tarver and Fiber Fresh Popeye who were the drop score with their uncharacteristic 12-fault round, and Daniel Meech aboard Cinca 3 picking up an unlucky four. The team finished 12th on 16 faults.
Bruce and Daniel have both qualified for Sunday’s Grand Prix on the back of their four fault rounds.
Bruce was “pretty happy” with Danny. “I was first out for us and a bit unlucky with the weather,” he said. “I think I got the worst (weather) of the competition.” It was raining and very windy and he was stopped as he came round to number two on the course when another fence which had blown down, needed to be rebuilt. “It was lucky it was right at the beginning of the course. He was jumping good.”
The combination had the plank down, just after the water, about two-thirds of the way around. “I was happy with the feeling he was giving me . . . he felt he wasn’t far off really good form. Of course, I would have liked to have jumped clean but . . . we haven’t showed for two months.”
The 1.45m-1.60m course today, designed by Santiago Vaarela Ullastres (SPA) who will also be designing in Tokyo, had not been a big one, but Bruce said was certainly tricky. “He is good and very clever. I like his courses a lot. He uses colours very well. His distances are very subtle, and he asks questions that a lot are not expecting to be big problems, but he finds mistakes.”
Daniel agreed. “Even though it wasn’t massive, the course was very well built to bring any faults in horses out. It was fair but had difficulties in disguise,” he said. “Cinca jumped amazing with a flawless round until the last. It was going straight into the VIP area and I think she thought ‘whoops, I need to go left now’, and clipped the back rail of the last jump. I am really happy with her. She always puts out her best for the team.”
Richard said he too was happy with Calista. “I made a silly mistake, but he settled down after that and jumped a super round. It is a pity we didn’t get into the second round so we could come back and do it again. We haven’t had many shows this year – this is only my third.” But there were some bigger ones over the coming weeks that he was looking forward to.
Tom would be getting a vet to look over Popeye. “It was not our day today. It is a long time since he did that. He is normally very consistently in those performances. Today wasn’t so big – it was technical but not the top of the stands like we have been doing at the Sunshine Tour. Popeye was just not himself today – there are no excuses of course, but we will go over him with the vet to find out why.”
The horse details:
Fiber Fresh Popeye – owned by Tom Tarver and Lucia Voss
Cinca 3 – owned by Johnson Horses GmbH and Daniel Meech
Calisto 5 – owned by Gestut Jennissen, Gut Nechen Agar GmbH and Richard Gardner
Backatorps Danny V – owed by Backatorp Ryder AB and Bruce and Ulrika Goodin
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison