Kiwi raiders expected in Adelaide today

November 9, 2009

The New Zealand team competing in the hotly contested Adelaide Trans Tasman Challenge - part of the Australian International 3 Day Event - are scheduled to arrive in Adelaide today ahead of competition on Friday.

Won by the Kiwis at the last event held in New Zealand in 2007, the Australians will be out to snatch the Trans Tasman title back in equestrian's version of the Bledisloe Cup.

The team of six riders, their grooms, horses and officials will spend the week in Adelaide preparing for the event.

"There is an enormous amount of rivalry between the Aussies and our Kiwi counterparts and we don't want to lose on our own turf," Event Director and Olympian Gillian Rolton says. "We will have a home ground advantage and hope the people of South Australia will help us to convincingly win the title back."

New Zealand riders in the Trans Tasman include Heelan Tompkins, Clarke Johnstone, Blair Richardson, Jenna Mahoney, and Anne-Marie Styles.

With a record number of riders competing in this year's Australian International 3 Day Event, up to 30,000 people are expected to flock to Rymill Park to see some of horse riding's biggest stars over three days of action-packed competition from 13 to 15 November.

Olympic gold medalists Wendy Schaeffer and Stuart Tinney will battle it out against some of the biggest names in the equestrian world including silver medalists Shane Rose, Megan Jones and Sonja Johnson and defending champion in the Olympic level four star class, Christopher Burton, at the event. More than 110 riders have entered the event, up from 80 riders who competed last year.

"Not only will spectators have the chance to see world-class riding, but they can also enjoy a full programme of fun events including a fantastic luncheon, fashion parades, a Masterclass with Olympic Judge Martin Plewa and a flamboyant Dressage to Music display by Spaniard Blas Lago on Northern Hector on dressage day, the Grape and Gourmet Gallop featuring the best of South Australia's food and wine and an expanded Trade and Lifestyle Village," Rolton says.

With the Saturday of the event coinciding with the running of the much loved Credit Union Christmas Pageant on 14 November, organisers are theming the day as a "family day" encouraging families to enjoy the fabulous sights and sounds of the Pageant and then spend the afternoon relaxing in the parklands. For the kids, there'll be plenty to see and do in the Kiddies' Choral, including pony rides, a dedicated playground area, bouncy castle and face painting.

Spectacular showjumping, a challenging cross country course and tests of elegance and precision in the dressage arena are features of the Adelaide event, one of only six four-star events in the world.