Adelaide gears up for Australasia’s biggest 3DE

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Beijing 2008 Olympic Games team silver medallist Megan Jones with Kirby Park Allofasudden are all set for the FEI Classics at the Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide.
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games team silver medallist Megan Jones with Kirby Park Allofasudden are favourites for this weekend’s Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide. © Julie Wilson/FEI

The charming South Australian city of Adelaide has put on its best “bib and tucker”, with Jacaranda trees covering the city in a beautiful pre-Christmas mauve haze, ready for the most prestigious equestrian event in the Southern Hemisphere, writes Anna Sharpley.

The Australian International 3 Day Event becomes more sophisticated and popular every year, helping to raise the profile of equestrian sport and Eventing in Australia, thanks to its incredible city location and a real party atmosphere. It is also the second leg of the FEI Classics 2014/15 series, and a field of 14 will start the event with their dressage tests on Friday.

Beijing Olympic Games team silver medallist from Adelaide, Megan Jones, is all set with her own and Alan and Stephanie Paulson’s Thoroughbred gelding by Rustic Amber, Kirby Park Allofasudden, known as Floyd in the stables.

Christopher Burton and TS Jamaimo.
Last year’s AI3DE winner, Christopher Burton and TS Jamaimo. © Julie Wilson/FEI

Bred by Prim Cromwell from Mypolonga in South Australia, he was sold as a yearling at the Magic Millions Sales. His racing career did not go according to plan, and he changed hands a few times until he arrived at Kirby Park Stud for some re-education. He used to do all sorts of unexpected things, hence his name Allofasudden – “all of a sudden I was sitting on the ground”.

By far the most experienced horse in the field, Kirby Park Allofasudden was placed on the elite list and named as reserve for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and in the same year placed second at the Australian International 3 Day Event, his first four-star. After winning the Melbourne International CCI3* in 2009, followed by the Reynella CIC3*, he placed second again at the Australian International 3 Day Event in 2009 and won the Magic Millions Trophy.

Briefly on the London 2012 Olympic team before being side-lined, entered and withdrawn from Adelaide last year, Jones and “Floyd” last month cruised around Canberra’s CIC3* to take second place, so it is hoped that this rangy chestnut is back to his best. They will start in Adelaide as the hot favourites.

Jones’ Beijing teammate Sonja Johnson will unfortunately not start in Adelaide after having to withdraw Simon and Rebecca Bell’s Australian Stock Horse star and ex-polo pony Belfast Mojito (Mojo), who took second place in his début four-star last year, but has come out second best in an argument, albeit slight, with a fence at home in Western Australia.

Tegan Lush and Tempus Fugit, who won the National Young Rider Eventing Championships at the Australian International Three Day Event in 2010, did not get to finish their first four-star the way they wanted when they had to retire at the 2012 edition of the FEI Classics. This year, they will start with resolve, alongside the likes of Jaimie Stichel from Charleston in South Australia with her Irish Sporthorse Image Blue Ice, winners of the Dublin National Young Rider Championship 2012 and who will be making their four-star début in Adelaide.

Germany’s Dirk Schrade, team gold medallist at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 and London 2012 Olympic Games, will join fellow Olympians Chris Burton, Andrew Hoy, Clayton Fredericks, Paul Tapner and Stuart Tinney in Adelaide, sadly not on horseback but cheering on the FEI Classics field, which includes just one man, whilst giving masterclasses and clinics.

Seumas Marwood, who has been competing in eventing for more than 30 years, has a strong chance in Adelaide this year with experience on his side and his wonderful Contango II mare Wild Oats, who has great jumping power.

Course designer Wayne Copping has set the 7000 metre cross-country for the FEI Classics with more than 60 individually designed, handcrafted obstacles based on the city sights of Adelaide.

Event Director Gill Rolton said: “We are really excited for the event this year with fantastic Aussie eventing weather predicted. We have a few warm days in the 30s coming up, with some spots of rain and cool change on Friday for perfect eventing weather – 20 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

“The course looks stunning, with Adelaide City council working with us to produce a green irrigated track and an exciting Wayne Copping course.

“With the World Equestrian Games only a couple of months ago, many of Australia’s top combinations have not made it back in time to compete, but this opens it up to a bunch of new horses and riders chasing Australia’s biggest prize money, as well as FEI Classics series points with Rio in their sights.”

The event is being shown live on FEI TV.

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