Cross country day for all but Happy Boy that is! The CI3*S jumped on Saturday morning and that changed the order a bit. Happy redeemed himself from his Tattersalls spook and jumped a beautiful clear round which elevated him some 17 places so a great start to the day.
Tim had a bit of a wait after that as his next three horses all ran in the CCIO4*S which was the last class of the day to go cross country. Tayla Mason and her own Centennial ( Chase) skipped around the CI3*L clear in time to move up to 7th spot and then it was Jonelle’s turn with Grovine de Reve for the CI4*L.
The whole of the spring season has been a bit of a race for Jonelle and Rev to get to know each other and it all came together today when they executed a fabulous clear round cross country to come home just one of three combinations inside the time. These three make up the top 3 and a classy top lot it is too….Kazuma Tomoto and his runner up to Tim and Ava at Tattersalls with Vinci de la Vigne (also Astier Nicholas’s ride at WEG last summer) leads with up and coming Mollie Summerland in 2nd with her Young Rider European Championship ride Charly van ter Heiden ( also runner up at Barbury CI4*S a few weeks ago) and then Jonelle and Rev. There is not a pole between the top 3 so that will make for an exciting finale tomorrow.
NZ don’t have a “first’ team member so the pressure was on in the Nations Cup for all three of our guys to come home clear. Easier said than done when we had Tim and Bango (Uno) who have had the brakes issue at Badminton to sort out, Jonelle and her first timer Grappa Nera ( Grape) and Sir Mark Todd and his old friend Leonidas who is on the comeback trail!
Needless to say Tim piloted a masterful, if nail biting, round from Uno who was undoubtedly strong! Uno is a laid back guy at heart but when he runs quick….which he rarely does unless it is at a long format…..he can be a little bit of a liability! Tim rode out the rollercoaster and managed to come home under time and both in one piece to move up to 3rd on the leaderboard and mark NZ’s intention to rise up from bronze.
Jonelle has never doubted Grape’s jumping ability and she was looking forward to her first CI4*S start with her but hadn’t really factored in being on a three team member Nations Cup to boot! Grape didn’t know it but this was her first team appearance and she really did relish the challenge and to come home with just 1.6 time was without doubt exceeding all expectations and they rose from 41st to 16th with such a good effort.
Anchorman Toddy is no stranger to a bit of pressure and he and Di Brunsden and Pete Cattell’s Leonidas are old mates. Leo can be unpredictable cross country when Mark puts his foot down although he will always get his body to the other side of the flags! Today it was one of the great rounds as they effortlessly cruised around inside the time to move a step ahead of Tim and into 2nd spot behind home favourite Sam Watson and his WEG ride Imperial Sky.
Team NZ now lie in Gold in the Nations Cup and not a pole lies between 1st and 7th. NZ do have a single rail in hand over Ireland in silver and two rails over Sweden in bronze. Another exciting showjumping to come tomorrow!
Outside of the Nations Cup but in the same class Tim also had first timers Spartaco (Sparty) and Senza Finé. They are both 8 year olds, both lovely young horses and both undoubtedly have great international careers ahead of them but they are fundamentally different rides. Senza is fast and powerful, jumps like a coiled spring and is sharp and on the ball. Sparty is also powerful and scopey with a huge stride and an innate trust in Tim who has ridden him since he was 4 years old and he has more of a laid back attitude to life in general than Senza.
Tim and Sparty set out to establish a good rhythm and all went well until the first water where Sparty drifted right over a skinny over a ditch and just missed the flag picking up a 20. Tim corrected that and then had a bit of a steering issue in the water as Sparty’s stride seems to get longer in water and his ability to turn thus limited! All a learning curve and Tim was really happy with the way he stepped up a class as as far as Sparty knows he didn’t put a foot wrong! Lying at the bottom of the scoreboard really doesn’t paint a fair record of the performance but its onwards and upwards with the showjumping still to come.
Senza thought the bigger fences and more technical track a total ball and relished every second of it! She simply loved it and Tim did a great job to anchor her enthusiasm in places whilst showing her how to negotiate some of the combinations and even adding 10 time to their score still moved them up another 5 places. Check 0ut the lead photo for this post….that is one bold girl into water!
So a very productive day for Team Price with lots of boxes ticked and horses all good and happy in the stables…. just the way we like it.