It’s been a stellar day of cross country for the Kiwis in the CCI5*-L in Luhmuhlen with all four combinations marching up the leaderboard. Tim Price and Vitali sit in second spot on 29.1, just .1 behind leader Felix Vogg (SWI) aboard Colero, with Oliver Townend (GBR) aboard Dreamliner in third on 29.6. Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo are in sixth on 31.6.
It is an extremely tight leaderboard, with less than a single rail between the top seven. Jonelle was one of just nine combinations to come home clear and inside time on the Mike Etherington-Smith-designed cross country course that certainly proved challenging for many. Just 24 combinations completed, with three retirements and eight eliminations. There were a number of falls, including overnight leader Bubby Upton (GBR) and Cannavaro, and Tom McEwen (GBR) who had his round on Bob Chaplin interrupted by a wayward dog.
Tim was clear with both his horses but picked up 2 time penalties with Vitali and 8.4 with Spartaco, who finished the day in 12th spot on 39.8. “I am very happy today with the whole team,” he said. “Hollie did a great job to get around – albeit slow but she jumped all the jumps and that is her first 5* cross country well and truly taken care of. Jonelle steamed around beautifully for a second inside the time and my two were really good for first timers at this level.”
To have both just a few seconds over the time was something Tim was very proud of. The course had been tough enough, with the time proving quite difficult for many. “It wasn’t all plain sailing,” said Tim. “There was lots of big jumping and galloping, and it was very hot today – 30 degrees out there. It was great we got to go cross country in the morning and give them the afternoon to recover. I think that has made a real difference.”
Jonelle was rapt with Faerie Dianimo. “She is obviously experienced and has been around the block but it has been a couple of years since we have had a good solid run around a 5*,” she said. “It really was nice to come home and stop the clock just on the right side. I am looking forward to hopefully coming out and jumping a good round tomorrow and with a bit of luck might be sneaking into that top five.”
Hollie’s goal had been to get cleanly around the course, which they did, adding just time penalties to their tally to finish on 77.7. “I was thrilled with him,” she said. “He jumped everything as I thought he would and there weren’t too many surprises out on course. I think he loved it out there.” She was particularly happy for Solo’s owners John and Jan Bodenham. “It has been a bit of a roller coaster for us but he was really on his A game, was really bold and was wanting to do the best job he could.”
Tim was full of praise for the event. “For the first time in a couple of years we had great spectator attendance,” said Tim. “That was really fun to see all over the course, lots of people enjoying the sunshine and the horse sport, so that was pretty cool.”
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Solo – owned by John Bodenham
Faerie Dianimo – owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
Spartaco – owned by Tim Price
Vitali – owned by Alexander and Joseph Giannamore and Tim Price
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ