Two equine industry identities are up for Halberg Awards, which celebrate and honour sporting achievements by New Zealanders.
British-based eventer Jonelle Price is among 22 nominations from 15 sports for New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year, and horse racing trainer Chris Waller, based in Australia, has been nominated for Coach of the Year for the Halberg Awards.
Price, 38, has had a stellar season, taking out two of the six four-star three-day-events in the world. In May she became the first New Zealand woman to win the Badminton Horse Trials, following that up with success in Luhmühlen in Germany in June. Her husband, Tim, won the four-star Burghley horse trials this season, and they are being described as eventing’s most popular “golden couple” since Princess Anne and Mark Phillips.
The individual success of the Prices has contributed to equestrian sports receiving $1.8 million from High Performance Sport New Zealand in its annual funding round, despite a mixed 12 months for Kiwi teams on the world stage.
New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year has the most nominations in any category, and there’s some stiff competition. The other nominees are canoe racing champion and Supreme Halberg Award winner from 2016 and 2017 Lisa Carrington, Abby Erceg (football), Alana Barber (athletics), Caitlin Ryan (canoe racing), Eliza McCartney (athletics), Evie Corrigan (powerlifting), Jo Edwards MNZM (bowls), Joelle King (squash), Julia Ratcliffe (athletics), Kendra Cocksedge (rugby union), Lydia Ko (golf), Marquita Gelderman (orienteering), Michaela Blyde (rugby union), Olivia Eaton (surf life saving), Rushlee Buchanan (cycling), Ruth Croft (athletics), Sarah Goss (rugby union), Stacey Michelsen (hockey), Suzie Bates (cricket), Valerie Adams (athletics) and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowboarding).
Waller, who was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame earlier this year, has won the last seven trainers’ premierships in his adopted home of New South Wales. He is the trainer of star mare Winx, who has won 29 consecutive races, 22 of those at Group One level, including four Cox Plates.
The other nominations for Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year are: Allan Bunting (rugby), Clark Laidlaw
(rugby union), Dale Stevenson (athletics), Eugene Bareman (mixed martial arts), Jason Pocock (surf lifesaving), Jeremy McColl (athletics), Joe Schmidt (rugby union), Kiwi Campbell (waka ama), Leon Birnie (football), Marcelo Lopes (mixed martial arts), Raylene Bates MNZM (para athletics) and Roly Crichton (para swimming).
The 56th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards will be held on Thursday February 21, 2019, at Spark Arena in Auckland.