The Kiwis have done the nation proud at the FEI World Eventing Championships in Italy with the team in fourth place, and riders in seventh, 12th, 15th and 20th after a decent leaderboard-shaking cross country.
Just 11 of the 88 combinations who tackled the Guiseppe della Chiesa-designed course came home clear and inside time – one of those was Tim Price aboard Falco. Monica Spencer and Artist, Jonelle Price with McClaren, and Amanda Pottinger on Just Kidding were all clear but picked up time penalties.
World no.3, Tim was very happy his round on Falco, saying it was good and smooth, meaning the time was right there all the way round and they managed to stick to it, adding nothing to their 26.2 penalty point dressage score. “It was a good day for us really,” said Tim who now sits in seventh spot.
Monica Spencer was once again hugely proud of Artist, who picked up 4.4 time penalties to finish in 12th place on 30 penalty points. “He just tried his heart out for me,” she said.
Jonelle Price and McClaren added six time for a tally of 32.1 in 15th spot. “I am really happy with McClaren,” said Jonelle. “Obviously it would have been nice to have been a couple of seconds faster but the clear round waws paramount at that stage of things. I lost a little bit of time in the last couple of minutes – he was a little bit flat coming home but he really fought for some fences, and fought for some flags today. It was really a day to get stuck in and wasn’t the most beautiful of tracks to ride, with the changing ground and some of the lines, but he dug deep and came home well for me.”
Clarke and Menlo Park didn’t have luck on their side today, adding both jump and time penalties. The former Olympian was really disappointed not to have delivered a clear round for the team. He and Menlo Park had a run out at 7A and took a frangible pin at 16B, finishing with a score of 76.4.
“We fought on to the finish after an early refusal,” he said. “I was really surprised to break a pin at the corner as I felt like we got to the fence just right but (he) must have hit it with his hind legs sadly.” He felt the horse had tried so hard and pulled up well, and Clarke was looking forward to the showjumping where they’d be gunning for a clear.
Tim Price praised Clarke’s efforts in getting the horse home well. “It was tough for Clarke to have his moment at the log at the top . . . totally unexpected, but just one of those things. He did very well in bringing his horse home fast and relatively clean after that, aside from the annoying pin as well, which is just how it can go in this game.”
Individual rider Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding were clear with 2.4 time for a total of 33.6 in 20th spot. “I could not be prouder and more chuffed of my little legend horse today,” said Amanda. “He just gave me everything. He did everything I pointed him at. He fought all the way to the end. I was a little bit slow on my second minute so I was chasing my tail the whole way but he just kept going and going and was looking for the flags. I couldn’t as for more.”
Michael Jung (GER) and fischerChipmjunk FRK lead the field on 18.8, with Yasmin Ingham (GBR) on Banzai du Loir in second on 23.2 and Tamra Smith (USA) with Mai Baum in third on 24.
Germany are also in front in the teams on 76.1 penalty points, with the United States in second on 77.4, Great Britain in third on 80.9 and the Kiwis in fourth on 88.3. There were three retirements and 13 eliminations during the cross country.
All eyes will be on the showjumping this evening.
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Falco – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
McClaren – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Menlo Park – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Artist – owned by Monica and Andrew Spencer
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger Family
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ