Just three New Zealand combinations are in the 44-strong field contesting the CCI5* at Les 5 Etoiles de Pau in France this week. Tim Price has two on the card in his “old mate” Wesko and Ascona M, while James Avery has entered aboard Mr Sneezy.

Tim, who just this week won the CCIYH3*-L for seven-year-olds at the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships at Mondial du Lion in France, has a solid CCI5* record with 16-year-old Wesko who won Luhmuhlen in 2014, was third at Pau in 2015 and second at Kentucky the same year. The Dutch-bred bay gelding won his last start in the CCI3*-L at Lignieres and earlier had a win at Arville in the CCI4*-S as well as a fourth at Aachen in the CCIO4*-S.

NZL-Tim Price rides Wesko during the SAP Cup – CICO4*-S Nations Cup Eventing Cross Country. Final-4th. 2019 GER-CHIO Aachen Weltfest des Pferdesports. Saturday 20 July. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Eleven-year-old grey mare Ascona had a win in the 5* at Luhmuhlen this year as well as heading home the field in the CCI4*-S at Tattersalls too. Her international competitive career was started by Tim’s wife Jonelle but he has had the ride since mid 2017. Tim is no stranger to Pau, having competed in the 5* seven times.

TITLE WINNER: NZL-Tim Price rides Ascona M during the Showjumping for the Longines CCI5*-L. Final-1st. The Longines Luhmuehlen International Horse Trials. Salzhausen, Germany. Sunday 16 June. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

However, James Avery is on debut at the high-ranking event. He and his 11-year-old Irish-bred horse were top 10 at their last start in the CCI4*-S at Ballindenisk. James has had the ride since mid-2018.

NZL-James Avery rides Mr Sneezy during the cross country for the Equi-Trek CCI-L4*. Interim-17th. 2019 GBR-Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials. Saturday 8 June. Bramham Park. Yorkshire. United Kingdom. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

The Kiwi riders will face some stiff opposition at Pau, which is one of just six events in the world at this top level. The first horse inspection is on Wednesday (October 24), followed by two days of dressage, the Pierre Michelet (FRA) designed cross country on Saturday and Yann Royant (FRA) designed jumping on Sunday. With a prize pool of €110,000 and valuable world ranking points on offer, there is plenty of incentive to do well.

While neither the world no.1 Oliver Townend (GBR) or no.2 Piggy French (GBR) are entered there are a number of strong combinations in the field, including Australians Shane Rose and Chris Burton, Maxime Livio (FRA), Rosalind Canter (GBR) and Gemma Tattersall (GBR) among others.

Andrew Nicholson remains the only Kiwi to have won Pau, with his victory aboard Nereo in 2012.

WHAT: Les 5 Etoiles de Pau CCI5*-L
WHEN: October 24-27, 2019
WHERE: Pau, France
MORE INFO: http://www.event-pau.com
Click here for LIVE STREAM or download the App from the website home page




French Time  

NZ Time

1st Horse Inspection

Wednesday 23rd



Dressage Day One

Thursday 24th


1.00am Friday

Dressage Day Two

Friday 25th


1.00am Saturday

Cross Country

Saturday 26th


Midnight Saturday


Sunday 27th


1.30am Monday

Wesko – owned by The Windrush Equestrian Foundation
Ascona M – owed by Suzanne Houchin, Lucy and Ben Sangster and Sir Peter Vela
Mr Sneezy – owned by Tiny Clapham, and Ian and Heidi Woodhead

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