No one was more surprised than eventer Tim Price to discover he had finished the season with a world ranking of two.
“I thought I was settled quite permanently at number six or thereabouts,” he said. “I think it is amazing and I am really excited about it, especially as I get to sit on that for the winter and don’t have to go and defend it the very next weekend.”
But Tim is not the first one in his household to hit number two – in 2014 his wife and fellow Olympian Jonelle also nabbed the honour. The race is now on to see which of the golden couple of the world of eventing will claim the top spot first.
It has been a great season for Tim Price – and falling just 13 points short of world number one Michael Jung (GER) can only leave everyone wondering ‘what if’.
“To finish so close to old Michy, that if I did have a horse for Pau – which I didn’t and that was always going to be the case – it might have got me a little bit higher up the board,” he said. “But I am not complaining. It has been a hard year with a lot of work and it is much nicer to finish like this than what I had the year before with a few thrills and spills, coming off a few times.”
His victory in the CCIO3* at Boekelo aboard Cekatinka was a hat trick at that level, backing up wins at Ballindenisk CCI3* aboard Pat’s Jester and Le Pin du Haras CCI3* on Ascona M. He also placed third at Badminton on Xavier Faer and fifth at Burghley on Ringwood Sky Boy.
“Boekelo was exciting,” says Price. “That was really a great moment. It was the third in quite a quick succession of 3* wins, but it was probably the most emphatic in that it was a big strong field – 95 odd horses – and I sort of laid it down where I used up a little time I had up my sleeve in the cross country in the hope I would showjump clear . . . and managed to do that. So that was fun to pull it off.”
It has been a busy season, with what Price describes as “a bunch of really good quality horses”, but he is ready for a break. “It is nice to come to this end now and be done and dusted.”
He attended Pau – the last 4* of the season – as a husband and dad. “I was really looking forward to going down to Pau to support Jonelle and as dad to Otis. It was great fun. I enjoyed going to a big event and not riding.” Now the family are looking forward to a little down time before everything ramps up again for next season.
“I can already feel the enthusiasm building inside for next year,” he says.
Andrew Nicholson finished the year in fifth spot on 415 points, with Sir Mark Todd in10th. Particularly exciting for New Zealand is the presence of some of our onshore based riders in the top 30 – Donna Edwards-Smith is in 25th with Samantha Felton in 30th. Blyth Tait rounds out the year in 49th position.
Edwards-Smith was quick to share the love. “It has been a massive team effort,” she says. “It’s very cool.”
Felton was pleased to look back at a good season. “The ranking is a nice way to look back at the success of the past season,” she says, “but the next step is always to get over to the UK to compete in the top international circuit.”
In the world dressage rankings, New Zealand’s history-making FEI World Cup Finalist Wendi Williamson came in at 97th.
In the world of showjumping, Sharn Wordley continues his upward rise and is now ranked at 93 with Samantha McIntosh also on the up at 243.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by Libby Law/ESNZ