All eyes are on the clutch of Kiwis lining up in the Magic Millions British Open CIC3* Championship this weekend, and particularly on Jonelle Price.
The back-to-back 4* victor is entered in the starry field aboard her 2018 Badminton winner Classic Moet – the speedy little black mare who rose to everyone’s attention on the horrendous cross country at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
Since then the 15-year-old has continued to shine, with a third (2016) and a fifth (2015) at Burghley among other top efforts. She also placed second in the CIC3* at Gatcombe in 2015.
Tim Price is entered aboard the 10-year-old Pats Jester who last year won the CCI3* at Ballindenisk. The British Championship is one of the few trophies not in the cabinet at the Price yard and organisers are picking them as ones to watch.
Sir Mark Todd has laid claim to the championship trophy three times – with Charisma (1988), Bahlua (1989) and Word for Word (1999). He actually claimed back-to-back trophies at Gatcombe, also winning the Croft Original Championship with Charisma in 1985 before it became the British Open.
Todd has his 16-year-old gelding NZB Campino, a member of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2012 London Olympic Games, on the card – the horse has placed fourth at Badminton (2017), seventh at Kentucky (2016) and top 10 at Burghley (2016).
Dan Jocelyn and Dassett Cool Touch round out the Kiwi quad for the top class. The 12-year-old chestnut has twice completed Badminton.
New Zealand has a solid record at the British Open, with no less than eight Kiwis on the trophy since it began in 1986 – as well as Mark’s trio, Andrew Nicholson (2002, 2011 and 2014), Blyth Tait (1998) and Jock Paget (2013) have all won the championship.
Nicholson and Todd have also both won the British Intermediate Championship. This year Dan Jocelyn aboard Fjury, Hannah Norvill on Magic Roundabout IV and James Avery on Vitali will be striving to emulate their efforts.
Dan has a busy event. He is also entered in the British Novice Championship aboard Lissyegan Rory and has both Grovine de Reve and Blackthorn Cruise in the Trophy for Advanced Horses. Megan Taylor and Harbour Town line up in the British Young Event Horse for four-year-olds.
The Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing hosts five championship classes, with all horse and rider combinations having qualified throughout the year. The cross country courses have been designed by Captain Mark Phillips who has assured riders that a lot of work has gone into ensuring the best possible going after the long drought.
The event is held at Gatcombe Park, the home of HRH Princess Anne.
Competition gets underway on Friday with three full days of competition across the grades.
WHAT: The Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing
WHERE: Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire, UK
WHEN: August 3-5, 2018
MORE INFO: www.festivalofbritisheventing.com
The horse details:
Dassett Cool Touch – owned by Therese Miller and Dan Jocelyn
Pats Jester – owned by Kate Maitland, Therese Miller, Philip Hunt, Jo Preston-Hunt and Tim Price
Classic Moet – owned by Trisha Rickards and Jonelle Price
NZB Campino – owned by New Zealand Bloodstock and Sir Mark Todd
Lissyegan Rory – owned by Debbie Cunningham and Dan Jocelyn
Fjury – owned by Dr Anna-Louise MacKinnon
Magic Roundabout IV – owned by Laurence Hunt and Sarah Stone
Vitali – owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller, Jo Preston-Hunt, Philip Hunt and Dan Jocelyn
Blackthorn Cruise – owned by Therese Miller and Panda Christie
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison