A brilliant day’s cross country has seen New Zealand take the lead in the Nations’ Cup competition at the Camphire International Horse trials in Ireland with two riders inside the top three.

Sir Mark Todd aboard Leonidas II and Tim Price on Bango were both clear and side time to sit second and third respectively with Jonelle Price and Grappa Nera, in the mare’s first 4* start, added just 1.6 time penalties to move up 25 places to 16th in the CCIO4*-S class.

The team sit on 94.9 penalty points at the top of the leaderboard, with Ireland in second on 99.5, Sweden in third on 103 and Italy in fourth on 103.6.

Mark had plenty of praise for his team mates Tim and Jonelle and said the couple had certainly put the pressure on him.

“They said I had to go clear in the time so the team would be in the lead – which we are, so that’s brilliant,” said Mark. “We had a brilliant round and I am very happy. Leo felt like he was back to his old self again so all good.”

Mark and Leonidas remain on their dressage score of 28.5 penalty points, just .8 behind leader Sam Watson (IRL) aboard Imperial Sky on 27.7. Tim and Bango are also still on their dressage score of 29.4.

Just seven of the 64 combinations to start the cross country came home clear and inside time. Two retired on the course and a further seven were eliminated.

Tim was very pleased with Bango, who can be exceedingly strong on the cross country, as was seen at Badminton. “He is just so experienced so the job of jumping the jumps was not too bad and I had a good round,” said Tim

“Jonelle on her inexperienced horse couldn’t have asked for more – to be that close to the time yet educating her at the same time and then Toddy just pulled out all the stops. We mounted the pressure on him saying he had to go clear inside the time for us to go into the lead and he delivered, so we are very proud of Toddy. Happy days – the Kiwis are in the lead after two phases – let’s hope we can stay there!”

Tim also picked up time penalties aboard his individual ride Senza Fine to finish the day on 43.5, and both time and jump to his other ride Spartaco.

ESNZ high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom felt it was a “great exhibition” of the New Zealand riders’ skill and brilliant team effort. “Hats off to Tim who banked the important first clear score and to Jonelle who guided Grappa Nera around the mare’s first 4*. I am not sure what words are left to describe Mark’s ride on Leonidas when the only request given was ‘could you please go inside the time’.”

With just a single rail covering the top seven combinations, tonight’s showjumping is going to call for every bit of experience from all the riders.

Jonelle has powered up the leaderboard in the CCI4*-L too, notching one of only three clear rounds inside time in the cross country to sit in third place aboard Grovine de Reve. Leader Kazuma Tomoto (JAP) and Vinci de la Vigne JRA are on 29.4 penalty points with Jonelle on 32.6. Just 17 combinations remain in contention as the class heads into the showjumping tonight.

Tayla Mason and Centennial now sit in seventh spot in the CCI3*-L class, remaining on their 35.4 penalty point dressage score. They were one of 14 combinations to come home clear and inside time in the cross country. Sian Coleman (IRL) and Lady Baton Rouge lead the field on 30.6.

James Avery and Aloha have moved up the leaderboard in the CCI3*-S to sit in fourth place after a faultless showjumping round. The Kiwi combination are on 29.1 penalty points with leader Brian Morrison (IRL) and Global Daenerys on 27.6. James was also all clear aboard One of a Kind to move into 11th spot on 30.8. Tim Price and Happy Boy remain on their dressage score of 36.7 and have moved up to 31st place. Thirty-two combinations in the 72-strong field remain on their dressage scores.

Sir Mark Todd and Cool Reign are in 13th spot after a clear and inside time effort on the cross country in the CCI2*-L, to finish the day on 33.3. Amanda Goldsbury and Bridie added time penalties to end up in 24th spot on 44.1. Hannah Bate (GBR) and Tremanton lead the 32-strong field on 24.1. The cross country saw two retirements and eight eliminations, including Mark and Cool Tide.


The horse details:
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller, Philip Hunt and Jo Preston-Hunt
Leonidas II – owned by Diane Brunsden, Peter Cattell and Sir Mark, Todd
Bango – owned by the Numero Uno Syndicate
Spartaco – owned by Tim Price
Senza Fine – owned by Therese Miller and Jo Preston-Hunt
Grappa Nera – owned by The Grape Syndicate
Centennial – owned by Sonya Mason, Sue Rutter and Tayla Mason
Happy Boy – owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller
One of a Kind – owned by Hazel Livesey
Aloha – owned by Hazel Livesey
Bridie – owned by Pat Wall
Cool Tide – owned by Di Brunsden and Peter Cattell
Cool Reign – owned by Di Brunsden, Peter Cattell and Sir Mark Todd

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