New Zealand eventers have dominated in the Nations Cup at the Millstreet International Horse Trials, taking both the team and individual crowns in the CCIO4*-NC-S.
World no.1 Tim Price aboard Falco led the way, heading home the 73-strong field on 29.8 penalty points, and was joined by world no.2 Jonelle Price on McClaren, Clarke Johnstone with Menlo Park, and Samantha Lissington on Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, for a team finish of 114.6. It is one of the best team finishing scores at Millstreet in recent years. Belgium placed second on 131.9 and Ireland third on 139.7.
Tim was very pleased with the efforts of his horse and the team. “That was a great day,” he said. “We just wanted to go and deliver something pretty solid, irrespective of other teams who were in the mix. We put in a pretty decent showing which would have stood up in all sorts of company. I am really happy for the Kiwi team just getting more and more forged as a unit.”
Falco has continued to impress his rider. “He has been focused on this and hopefully Aachen if all goes to plan. I am really proud he was able to do a good job, put in three good phases, and was fast. He was very clever and on his job in the cross country which was great.”
He felt it had laid solid foundations as the team built towards the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
It was certainly a strong performance from the team. Tim and Falco added just 5.2 time in the cross country for their final tally of 29.8 penalty points. Clarke and Menlo Park also added only time penalties from the cross country to his dressage score to finish on 42.3 in fifth place; world no.2 Jonelle and McClaren clawed their way back from 22nd to seventh through the three tests, only adding time to their dressage score for a final score of 42.3; while Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ added time in the showjumping, and time and jumping in the cross country for 73.1. No one in the field came home clear and inside time over the Mike Etherington-Smith designed cross country.
Millstreet was a key target for the New Zealand eventers and ESNZ high-performance general manager Jock Paget was rapt with the results. “Those were very good performances from the team in all three phases,” he said. “We have been targeting this event since February and it is great to be able to deliver as planned.” He said Tim and Falco had been in a league of their own, with Ginny Thomasen, Samantha, and Muzi Pottinger all picking up Olympic qualifying scores.
Muzi and Good Timing worked their way up through the field to finish in third place in the CCI4*-L. The combination started with a 33.7 dressage test and added only 0.8 time in the cross country for a 34.5 penalty point final tally. The class was won by Piggy March (GBR) aboard Coolparks Sarco on 30.4 with Gemma Stevens (GBR) and Flash Cooley second on 33.1. Samantha Lissington and Lord Seekonig placed seventh on 49.2 with Ginny Thomasen aboard Capitaine de Hus Z right behind her on 51.6 in eighth.
The CCIO3*-L saw Australia and China nab Olympic berths, with the individual honours going to Shenae Lowings (AUS) aboard Bold Venture on 24.9. Japanese riders Kazuma Tomoto aboard Brookpark Vikenti and Ryuzo Kitajima with Feroza Nieuwmoed were second and third on 28.6 and 33.4 respectively. Clarke Johnstone and Sparky Lad were the best of the Kiwis with a sixth-place finish on 38.8 with Nick Brooks and Lucky Jo Jo 10th on 46.9, and Jonelle with Chilli’s Midnight Star 12th on 61.7.
Earlier in the event, Samantha Lissington won the CCIYH2*-S aboard Mr Cookie Time and the CCI2*-L with Quantas R.
The horse details;
Capitaine De Hus Z – owned by Davie and Karie Thomson and Ginny Thomasen
Lord Seekonig – owned by Sharon Honiss, Annabelle and Robin Greville Williams, and Brayden and Samantha Lissington
Good Timing – owned by The Volunteer Syndicate
Menlo Park – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ– owned by Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington
Happy Boy – owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller
Falco – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
McClaren – owned by Davie and Karie Thomson
Chilli’s Midnight Star – owned by Nikki Axon and Merrill Halstead
Lucky Jo Jo – owned by Lucky Jo Jo Syndicate and Nick Brooks
Sparky Lad – owned by Waratah Equestrian Pty Ltd
Quantas R – owned by The High Flyers Syndicate
Mr Cookie Time – owned by Rachel Bessell, Neil Robertson and Samantha Lissington
By Diana Dobson
Photo: Libby Law ESNZ and Pam Cunningham