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Eventers vie for Olympic points in HB horse trials

October 25, 2007

by Virginia Caro

Central and Southern Hawkes Bay Eventing will host an international class at its spring horse trials this weekend to enable Olympic prospects to gain qualifying points for Beijing.

The move follows the cancellation of the Australian International Horse Trials at Adelaide next month, due to the Equine Influenza outbreak in Australia.

As a result, the cream of the country's elite eventers will be competing in the Red Snap'r CIC*** at Arran Station under FEI (international) rules, with FEI listed personnel officiating. Seasoned internationals such as Matthew Grayling (New Plymouth) with NRM Gordon and Bryce Newman (Bulls) with Bates Our Questionnaire will have the young guns pushing them, such as Clarke Johnstone (Dunedin finance student) with Oakley Vision, who won the NZ World Cup Qualifier earlier this year.

Heelan Tompkins (New Plymouth), the highest placed kiwi rider at the World Equestrian Games at Aachen last year on the now retired Glengarrick, has three rides, one recently bought from the South Island for her by a syndicate keen to see her at next year's Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Stubben Sugoi, formerly ridden by Amanda Brown (Christchurch), was second at the Taupo Three-day Event last year, so it will be interesting watching this new partnership evolve.

Tompkins also has the ride on Nicoli Fife's Charlton Noted while regular rider Kate Lambie is pregnant. Challenging these established stars are several promising up-and-comers (23 starters in all), including Ella Matthews (Rotorua) who quinellaed the advanced class at Hastings earlier this month, and Jenna Mahoney (Auckland), who was second behind Johnstone in the NZ World Cup Qualifier, also with two rides.

Last year's winner, Georgie Thomson (Wanganui) and Rosee will be trying to make it two in a row, but a top performance in all three phases of the event (dressage, cross-country and showjumping) will be required under the stringent conditions of international rules. Professional course builder Robbie McLean (Taupo) has worked on some new fences for course designer Mary Darby (Porangahau) so the cross-country will hold fresh challenges and need to be ridden boldly.

Classes for all levels and age groups will cater for the large number of horses and riders from throughout the country, with all the dressage and the lower level showjumping on Saturday, and all the cross-country and higher level showjumping on Sunday. Admission is free, spectator viewing is excellent, and food and drink are available on the grounds, but dogs are not permitted at Arran Station, the PPCS freezing works farm in Fraser Rd, Takapau.



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