Tim Price and Hayley Frielick will fly the New Zealand high at the Maryland 5* in the United States this week.
The event, one of just seven CCI5* events in the world, is in just its second year and has attracted a starry 26-strong field that also includes former world no.1 Oliver Townend (GBR) with As Is who will be keen to set the record straight after a rather forgettable World Champs.
World no.1 Tim will contest the 5* aboard the 10-year-old Selle Francais Coup de Coeur Dudevin who was second in the CCI4*-L at Millstreet earlier this year. “I have always had him earmarked for this competition but getting all the ducks in a row and making sure it was the right decision took a little bit longer,” said Tim. “He was my runner-up horse for the World Champs so was in camp with Falco. He is a terrific cross country horse and I think the track should suit him out there.”
Tim is keen to support the new event and welcomes the addition to the 5* calendar. At the inaugural event in 2021 he and Xavier Faer finished third, just 3.3 penalty points off winner Boyd Martin (USA) aboard On Cue. The Swiss-born horse is by Top Gun Semilly out of Tiebreak Combehory, who is by Leprince des Bois.
Hayley Frielick has not long made the move to the United States from her former base in Australia. “The plan was always to come over for Maryland,” says the 29-year-old. “I hope I am not jinxing him but I think the track will suit him.”
She’s talking about her 12-year-old thoroughbred gelding Dunedin Black Watch who will make his 5* debut at the event. The gelding, who is by Dylan Thomas, out of Love First, who is by Lonhro, was third last year in both the 4*-L at Sydney and 4*-S at Wandin.
“He loves a hilly, twisty course and usually just eats them up, so hopefully this will suit his way of going.”
Black Watch made the long trip to the US in early July, with Hayley following later in the month. The horse is based with Dom Schramm, a 5* Australian eventer who lives next to Olympian Boyd Martin in Pennsylvania, which is just half an hour from the 5* event.
Hayley is riding for Boyd. “I had never met any of them before but it is all going really well,” she said.
She got Black Watch off the track six years ago. “He is a typical thoroughbred who wants to try too hard all the time but has been great – every time we step up he just keeps surprising us. He’s not the most conventional in how he does things but is getting more sensible and better as he matures.”
She is super excited to be lining up at Maryland. “Especially because it is a new event so a lot more is unknown so I feel I am a bit more on the same page as everyone else.”
As well as Black Watch, Hayley took her five-year-old homebred mare Dunedin My Goodness, who is related to her former star My Happiness and Class Action LP, both of whom she competed to 5* level.
“Our long term plans are pretty fluid at this stage but we did come here on a one-way ticket. It is stunning here – the facilities are incredible and the weather amazing. It is a welcome breath of fresh air to have events running and good weather.”
Long term she hopes to be competitive at 5* level. “I don’t want to be just there to make up the numbers,” she said. “I am very excited to be here.”
As well as Black Watch in the 5* Hayley has a catch ride on Excel Star Stephen’s Green in the Young Horse Event Five-Year-Old.
The four days of competition start with the dressage on Thursday and Friday, followed by the Ian Stark-designed cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday.
WHAT: Maryland 5* at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory
WHERE: Fair Hill, Elkton, Maryland, United States
WHEN: October 13-16, 2022
MORE INFO: www.maryland5star.us
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THE HORSE DETAILS:
Coup de Coeur Dudevin – owned by Jean-Louis Stauffer
Dunedin Black Watch – owned by Kathryn Robertson
Excel Star Stephen’s Green – owned by Eden Dedrick
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ