All roads head to France this week for Les Etoiles de Pau CCI5*-L, the last big event on the Northern Hemisphere calendar.

New Zealand is well represented at the prestigious event with world no.4 Tim Price entered on Happy Boy and Viscount Viktor; Jonelle Price is in on Hiarado and McClaren; Jesse Campbell will compete on Diachello and Cooley Lafitte; Samantha Lissington has her Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ in; James Avery has MBF Connection on the card; and Muzi Pottinger has both Just Kidding and Good Timing entered.

Three-time 5* victor, Jonelle Price finds herself in the unusual position of having her first 5* start of the season right at the end.

“It has been a bit of a quiet year for me this year but it always was going to be a bit of a rebuilding one,” she said. She’s very happy to be heading to Pau, an event she won in 2022 aboard Grappa Nera. “It is always such a nice event in the calendar and typically being the last one of the season, people are on the home strait so everyone has a slightly more relaxed air about them.”

Pau was always a very picturesque event with the Pyrenees in the background and generally delivered fresh mornings and beautiful days. “I have fond memories of winning here last year.” German-bred McClaren was third at Pau in 2021 on his 5* debut and has also competed at the Kentucky 5*.

NZL-Jonelle Price rides Grappa Nera during the Prizegiving for the CCI5*. Final-1st. 2022 FRA-5 Etoiles de Pau. Pau, France. Sunday 30 October. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Jonelle is particularly excited about her 11-year-old Dutch bred mare Hiarado who is debuting at 5* level. “We bought her last summer with the express purpose of hopefully being able to come through the ranks and be a good back-up for McClaren and the Olympic Games next year.” And she looks to be right on track to do just that. “I think a huge amount of her and am really happy to have her heading down there.”

Tim Price has two first-timers to Pau. “They are both really nice horses,” he says of Viscount Viktor and Happy Boy. “I am looking forward to having a good crack with both. Pau is nice way to wrap up the season.”

Twelve-year-old Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ is on debut at 5* level and Samantha Lissington is pretty excited about it all. “We wanted to get our Olympic qualifications ticked off early this year, which we have achieved so now that gives us the freedom to tackle Pau,” she says. “I have never been before but I have been told it should suit our little Sooty.”

Jesse Campbell has two 5* debutants in his mounts Diachello, the 13-year-old he rode at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and 11-year-old Irish-bred Cooley Lafitte. “I have two lovely horses for Pau,” said Jesse. “I am very excited to get amongst it with them. They are both on good form and had good prep runs, so am looking forward to it.”

Muzi Pottinger is starting her thoroughbreds Just Kidding and Good Timing. Seventeen-year-old Just Kidding has completed both Luhmuhlen and Badminton, while Good Timing is on debut at top level.

It’s also the first 5* start for 10-year-old chestnut stallion MBF Connection who is ridden by James Avery.

Pau has again attracted a world-class field which includes world no.1 Oliver Townend, Pau 2021 winner Ros Canter (GBR), Badminton and European champ Tom McEwen (GBR), Maxime Livio (FRA), Boyd Martin (USA), Phillip Dutton (USA), and Will Coleman (USA).

The first horse inspection is on Thursday, followed by two days of dressage, the Pierre Michelet-designed cross country and Yann Royant (FRA) designed showjumping. The winner will pocket €50,000 of the €150,000 prize purse. New Zealand has done well at Pau over the years with Jonelle winning in 2022, Tim claiming the top gong in 2021 with Falco, and Andrew Nicholson aboard Nereo taking it out in 2012. New Zealand have also featured on the podium numerous times.

The event usually attracts 40,000-plus spectators over the four days of competition.
Pau is one of seven 5* events on the world calendar, alongside Maryland, Badminton Horse Trials, Burghley Horse Trials, Kentucky Three-Day, Australian International Three-Day Event and Luhmuhlen. These are the highest ranked competitions in eventing.





French Time

NZ Time

First Horse Inspection

Thurs 26th – 10.00am

Thurs 25th – 9.00pm

Dressage Day 1

Thurs 26th – 2.00pm

Fri 27th – 1.00am

Dressage Day 2

Fri 27th – 10.00am

Fri 27th – 9.00pm

Cross Country

Sat 28th – 11.30am

Sat 28th – 10.30pm


Sun 29th – 2.30pm

Mon 30th – 1.30am





Happy Boy

by Indoctro out of W.Amelusina 17 who is by Odermus

Susan Lamb and Therese Miller

Viscount Viktor

by Viscount out of Nova EH who is by Nobre

Barbara Cooper, Glynn Norcutt and Ginny Rusher


by Diarado out of Ubiloa who is by Ekstein

David and Karie Thomson


by Clarimo out of Toni I who is by Landjunge

David and Karie Thomson

MBF Connection

by Luidam out of Traditionally Aloof

Hazel Livesey


by Diarado out of Visser Cholin who is by Chello I

Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell

Cooley Lafitte

by Je T’aime Flamenco out of Graf Shenanigans who is by Scirocco

Jay Jaffar

Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ

by Caretino out of Quantum Flash who is by Tristaking

Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington

Just Kidding

by Fusaichi Pegasus out of Gypsey Princess who is by Sadler’s Wells

Andy, Tinks and Muzi Pottinger

Good Timing

by Nom Du Jeu out of Baloushe who is by Black Minnaloushe

The Volunteer Syndicate

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ