New Zealand may have finished just off the podium both as a team and individually, but they’ve given a big thumbs up to Pratoni as the venue for the 2022 FEI World Championships. Tim Price and Falco placed fourth in the CCIO4*-S on a score of 32.2 penalty points, having added just time in both the cross country and showjumping phases at the Pratoni test event.
The individual was won by Robin Godel (SWI) aboard Grandeur de Lully with Ingrid Klimke (GER) aboard Equistros Sienna Just Do It second on 27.9, and Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) aboard Absolut Gold HDC third on 32.2.
In the opening round of the FEI Nations Cup Series, the Swiss team, who are coached by Andrew Nicholson, finished on a combined score of 94.9 penalty points, with France second on 99.1, Sweden third on 113.6 and New Zealand fourth on 124.1. In the jumping today, 14 of the 46 remaining combinations were clear and inside time.
Tim was very pleased with Falco who had scored 26.6 in the dressage, added 5.2 time in the cross country and then just 0.4 in the showjumping over the three days. “That was good,” he said. “My horse jumped beautifully today and was just slightly outside the time but really it was not about winning, although it is always nice. We will take that forward for later in the year.”
Amanda Pottinger and Good Timing placed 17th on 39 penalty points, thanks to 35 in the dressage, adding nothing in the cross country, which moved her up 32 spots on the leaderboard, and then a rail in the showjumping. “I am a little disappointed with the soft rail today, which he doesn’t have very often,” said Amanda. “Overall I couldn’t be happier with how this horse has risen to the occasion in his first 4*, especially given all the travel to Italy and having only arrived from New Zealand in February.”
Jesse Campbell said it had certainly been a week of learning for him and Diachello who finished the event on a score of 52.9 penalty points. “We come away with some learning to do.” The combination had a very disappointing start with their 42.1 penalty point dressage test, added 6.8 time from the cross country, and then had a rail in the showjumping to finish in 31st place. “We just need to keep working.”
Jonelle, while disappointed with the cross country test, was overall pretty pleased with her nine-year-old Faerie Magnifico who had a near perfect showjumping round and was unlucky to take a rail at the last combination. They started the test event with a bang with a 25.9 penalty point dressage test which saw them in fourth place at the end of the phase but picked up time and jump faults on the cross country, and another four from the showjumping to finish on 114.9.
“I was really happy with my horse though,” said the world no.5. “He is proving that he has got some goods in all three phases despite a bit of a green performance (in the cross country). I was really encouraged by his showjumping round today but he otherwise jumped a good round. I am hoping it bodes well for the future.”
In the cross country Jonelle said she had made an early mistake, with the horse then showing his inexperience. “We had to work our way home from there, but two phases I am delighted with . . . obviously there is some room for improvement on the cross country but I think he has some good runs ahead of him and I think he will have come on a lot from the week itself.”
There as lots of good to take away from the team exercise. “I am really pleased we came and had a look at the venue so we have a better picture of what we will be facing come the World Champs in September,“ said Jonelle. “I think the cross country day will prove influential. There is certainly enough terrain and I think he will be able to use that to increase the difficulty in what is a 4* track and sometimes that, given the calibre of the field, can prove a difficult track to build. It really is a picturesque setting.”
Tim said the information gathering trip had been very useful for them all, including those on the sidelines. “It was a great exercise to do as a team. We had a good contingent here considering it was just a 4* short. We have a lot of useful information,” he said.
Jesse also felt the venue would certainly produce a very good championship later this year.
ESNZ high performance eventing head coach Sam Griffiths says the volcanic rolling hills of Pratoni certainly made it a very beautiful place for an event. “Come the World Championships with the hills and distances, I think endurance will become a bit of a factor which hopefully will play into our hands,” he said. “We are very much looking forward to coming back here. Lots of rolling hills which gives the course designer a lot of scope to get lots of jumps in to space and use that terrain so it is fairly unique in that sense.”
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Falco – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
Faerie Magnifico – owned by Trisha Rickards
Good Timing – owned by The Volunteer Syndicate
Diachello – owned by Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ