All eyes will be on Perth, Western Australia on Saturday Dec. 1 when some of Australia’s best riders and an international Olympic legend will converge on the banks of the Swan River for Equestrian in the Park (EITP).
Perth is one of the most picturesque cities in the world, and its city skyline serves as the backdrop for this elite eventing Grand Prix and show jumping event. Presented by McInerney Ford and Channel 7, EITP combines challenging cross country obstacles with technical show jumping lines to create the 20/20 cricket equivalent of the equestrian world.
This year, Equestrian in the Park is very excited to welcome eventing legend Sir Mark Todd, who will be competing for the first time in Western Australia. Another first-timer to the Perth eventing scene will be Australian Olympic Bronze medallist and Badminton winner Sam Griffiths, and he and Mark confirm the already high standard of competition.
The event is made up of two classes, and the winner of each will walk away with a brand new Ford car from McInerney Ford. The cars are not the only incredible prizes, with each class boasting a prize pool of over $10,000.
The event, previously known as Eventing in the Park, was first run in 2013 and there are a number of well-known names on the honour board, with past winners including Chris Burton, Clayton Fredericks, Harry Meade and Jess Manson, and Bettina Hoy was runner up in 2016.
The event is a firm favourite on the Western Australian equestrian and social calendars where the excitement and action of the sport meets glamour and hospitality. There is a hotly contested Fashions on the Field, and the opportunity for spectators to walk the course and see the challenging obstacles up close.
The Grand Prix is the main class on the day, and Mark Todd will be very hard to beat having picked up the ride on two favourites: The Diamond Thief, owned by Kate Joyce, and the winner of the last event, Silver Force, owned by Tracey Diederich and ridden by Tayah Andrew.
He will have some hot competition from local riders including Emily Gray and Jocular Vision who will be returning from an outstanding 4th place at the tough Adelaide four-star. Winners of the Wooroloo CCI3*, Kate Ingham and Asti Aspiration, also have very good form in Grand Prix style eventing having competed at EITP in previous years.
In the Diamond Class, Sam Griffiths will be hard to beat on the proven performer Megapixel. Based in the UK, Australian rider Sam has been successful on the international stage and was selected for the recent World Equestrian Games before a withdrawal due to injury. We have also heard that Western Australia’s own Olympic Silver medallist Sonja Johnson, fresh from her 3rd placing in the four-star at Adelaide, will be catching a ride in this class to try and take home the car.
In addition to these talented and experienced Olympians, there are a number of young riders and up and coming stars who will be having their first attempt at this year’s event, including Olivia Shore, who has been highly successful at local events in the lead-up. She will be riding a horse who is no stranger to victory, Adelaide four-star winner and previous EITP Grand Prix winner Legal Star, and this combination is definitely one to watch.
Another rider who could be a real contender is Daisy Scott with Pico Bam, who have had success in both show jumping and eventing classes. This year will also feature a dedicated showjumping class with a starting height of 125cm, which is set to be one of the highlights of the day.
We look forward to watching Sir Mark Todd, Sam Griffiths and the talented local competitors battling it out at this prestigious event. Who will drive away with the title?
For more information on the event, or to purchase tickets visit equestrianinthepark.com.au.