Some of the big names may be missing but the classes at this week’s New Zealand Three Day Event Championships are hugely competitive, with expectations high for some close-fought battles across the levels.
All eyes will be on the DVS Home Ventilation Systems CCI4*-L which will be without former winners Clarke Johnstone (2014 and 2011), Maddy Crowe (2019) and Amanda Pottinger (2018), as well as Bundy Philpott who are all competing offshore.
However, the top-ranked class of the show has attracted some excellent combinations and it would be a brave person to pick a winner before the final flags are crossed.
In the mix is most certainly Monica Oakley and Artist who won the CCI4*-L at Puhinui in December, adding to an impressive CV.
Abigail Long is another to watch – she has two on the card in Cruising Guy, who was second in the CCI4*-S at Puhinui in March, and Belmont Holy Smoke, who won the CCI4*-S at Matamata in February.
South Islander Emily Cammock has made the long haul north with a team of horses. The current holder of the National One Day Champs crown has her campaigner Shaw Lee on the card at Taupo.
Diane Gilder is in aboard her Adelaide 5* horse Your Attorney, while Renee Faulkner has both Mi Focus and Rubinstar HH entered. Donna Edwards-Smith is another with a brace on the card in DSE Samalam and DSE Mendoza.
There’s also Olympian Matthew Grayling on Trudeau, Abby Lawrence on Anonymous, and Christen Lane with Thunder Cat, as well as Abbey Thompson on Rockin It and Catherine Taylor on Kiteroa Lara.
They will all be well tested by Chris Ross, who is designing the cross country courses for the CCI4* -L and the NRM CCI3*-L Championship, while John Holmes will design those for the Marsh Ltd CCI2*-L, Treadlite CCN2*-L, Dunstan CCN1*-L and Taupo Veterinary Services CCN105-L Open.
The CCI3* has attracted a big and very competitive field, including Olympian Heelan Tompkins, young rider representatives and other well versed combinations.
There has been plenty of interest in the new CCN95-L which will give less experienced riders a chance to test their skills in the long format while also being part of the National Championships. The class has been split into the Oranoa Sport Horses Restricted and Penny Homes Open, with the cross country course designed by Clive Long and Campbell Draper.
Officials for the popular event, which was cancelled last year due to COVID, are coming in from all over the country. Wellington’s Anna Clark is the new event convenor.
The addition of the new CCN95-L section means the timetable will run slightly differently, with dressage starting on Thursday, cross country on Friday and Saturday and showjumping on Saturday and Sunday. The 95 and 105 classes will conclude on Saturday. The young horse class is run on Wednesday afternoon.
As well as the very prestigious national three day titles, there are also the series’ finals to be decided in the ESNZ Eventing Super League, Pro-Am Rider Series, Young Rider Series, Amateur Rider Series, Junior Rider Series and Grassroots Series, which all culminate at the event.