Tim and Jonelle Price spearhead the New Zealand eventing team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The couple, who sit at two and seven respectively on the world rankings, will be joined by Games debutant Jesse Campbell from the Waikato. New Zealand-based Bundy Philpott is the travelling reserve rider.
The Prices enter the Games in solid form. The pair have, between them, been on the podiums of the Northern Hemisphere’s top 5* events, including Badminton, Burghley, Kentucky, Pau and Luhmuhlen. It is their second consecutive Olympic Games together.
Meanwhile, Campbell, who grew up being inspired by New Zealand’s eventing superstars, says it has been a lifetime goal to go to the Olympic Games. “The New Zealand eventing team has an incredible legacy and it is really exciting to be adding my own chapter to it,” he said. “I really hope I can do it proud.”
With the team naming box now “ticked”, it was time to focus on getting a medal. “The real work steps up another level as we get ready to compete at Tokyo.”
Jonelle was the reserve for Athens (2004) and rode at London (2012), where the team won bronze, with both she and Tim on the team for Rio (2016) – the first time a couple represented New Zealand in eventing at the Olympic Games. Jonelle is excited to be named aboard Grovine de Reve, a horse which has continued to impress. “Grovine de Reve has gone from strength to strength in the time we have had him,” she said.
“It doesn’t always work out that you have a horse whose age and stage truly aligns with a championship, but I really believe it does for this guy. The postponement probably worked in his favour.” The combination had recorded two 5* runs, consolidating his form at the highest level.
Tim Price is “thrilled” to be included in the team and also feels his mount is in good form. “Vitali is just the right sort of horse for this kind of competition – athletic, fast and honest. He has been beautifully produced by Jock Paget and later by James Avery so is a real Kiwi community horse,” said Tim.
ESNZ high performance general manager Jock Paget, a team bronze medallist from the London Olympic Games, extended huge congratulations to all the riders, grooms, owners and wider team.
“It is a massive team effort and there are so many critical pieces of the puzzle that have to come together at the highest standard to achieve this,” said Jock.
“It is great to see Tim and Jonelle in the team and exciting to see some well-deserved new faces in the line-up which shows strength in the programme and signs of growing depth. Hats off to the high performance team led by Graeme Thom – it has been a mammoth effort from everyone. The relentless skill and determination to properly prepare for these Games amongst all the barriers in place was exceptional.”
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes. “We’re thrilled to have Tim and Jonelle back in the team and it’s great to have a talented young rider Jesse joining us for his first Games,” said Smith.
“We have a proud eventing legacy at the Olympic Games and I have no doubt this team will be adding another fantastic chapter to that history in a month’s time in Tokyo.”
Sir Mark Todd and the mighty Charisma won New Zealand’s first Olympic equestrian medal with an individual gold at Los Angeles (1984), which he backed up in Seoul (1988) with another individual gold, while the team won bronze. In Barcelona (1992) the team won silver with Blyth Tait winning individual bronze aboard Messiah. The team won bronze at Atlanta (1996) with Blyth aboard Ready Teddy and Sally Clark aboard Squirrel Hill taking gold and silver respectively.
Sir Mark won an individual bronze in Sydney (2000), and then London’s team bronze the latest medal. The team came tantalising close to the podium in Rio (2016) but had to settle for fourth.
Amanda Pottinger on Just Kidding and James Avery on Mr Sneezy have been named as non travelling reserves.
New Zealand will also be represented by an already-announced showjumping team at Tokyo
Tim Price and Vitali owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore and Tim Price
Jonelle Price and Grovine de Reve owned by Therese Miller and Jonelle Price
Jesse Campbell and Diachello owned by Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell
Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH owned by Brian and Bundy Philpott
Prices Reserve Horses:
Tim Price – Falco owned by Sue Benson, Jackie Oliver and Tim Price
Xavier Faer owned by Trish Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price
Ringwood Sky Boy owed by Robert Taylor, the late Varenna Allen and Tim Price
Jonelle Price – Grappa Nera owned by The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price
McClaren owned by David and Karie Thomson
Classic Moet owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding owned by the Pottinger family
James Avery and Mr Sneezy owned by Tiny Clapham, Heidi and Ian Woodhead and James Avery