Kiwi eventers aiming to impress for WEG

August 13, 2010

This weekend offers one of the final chances for Kiwi eventers to impress selectors before the World Equestrian Games next month.

Six of the seven eventers on eventing's short list will start in the Hartpury Horse trials in Gloucestershire, which will feature riders from 17 countries.

Andrew Nicholson is likely to start his four top-string horses, Nereo, Avebury, Mr Cruise Control and Armada, as well as several others in the lower grades. Also hoping to impress the New Zealand chef d'equipe Erik Duvander and convener of selectors Andrew Scott, will be Mark Todd on Grass Valley, Annabel Wigley on Black Drum, Caroline Powell on Mac McDonald, Jonathan Paget on Clifton Promise and Joe Meyer on Snip and Clifton Lush.

The only other rider in WEG contention is Clarke Johnstone aboard Orient Express, who lines up at the CCI3* International Three Day Event in Sydney at the end of the month.

From that line-up, selectors will name a team of five for the games.

There are just four in contention for the show jumping team and all are offshore.

Europe-based Samantha McIntosh, 34, has been in fine form on Loxley, including second by a snip at the highly-ranked San Patrignano CSI5* grand prix in Italy recently. McIntosh, who previously rode for Bulgaria, returned to New Zealand citizenship earlier this year. McIntosh and Loxley will start in another five star in early September.

Showjumper of the Year Katie McVean and Dunstan Delphi have been regulars on the podium at Spruce Meadows and other Canadian shows. They're heading towards the $250,000 Hampton Classic grand prix in New York early next month.

The US based Guy Thomas and Peterbilt have shone with their form this season, making history as the first ever winner of the Triple Crown of Showjumping in Northern California.

Maurice Beatson and Apollo Van Evendale are also proving very consistent in their performances throughout the United States and will be pushing to continue it.

Jody Hartstone, New Zealand's only WEG dressage hopeful, has pulled out of contention, and is sending Whisper back to New Zealand.

After controversy surrounding the pullout of two team members, the final endurance team of Alison Higgins, Jenny Chandler and Debbie Worsfold are busy fund-raising to finance their trip, while their chef d'equipe Madonna Harris is currently riding in the Mongol Derby.

The World Games run from September 25 to October 10.