Australia Leads the Nations at Millstreet International Horse Trials

Andrew Barnett and Go Tosca. Photo by Bit-Media.

Competition has got off to an exciting start at Ireland’s premier horse trials, the Millstreet International (Co Cork, Ireland) where Australia holds a fractional lead over New Zealand in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup TM, in which members of all five teams have completed the dressage phase.

An intriguing and open contest is assured as a mere 8 penalties covers the five countries, with the USA third, Great Britain fourth and Ireland fifth.

Australia’s Andrew Barnett, who is paying his first visit to the northern hemisphere, is best of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup TM riders, having achieved the only sub-30 mark (29.0), with the 13-year-old gelding Go Tosca.

Andrew, who is a full-time coach based in the Hunter Valley, was formerly a show jumper but got into eventing when his partner, Tarsha Hammond, was pregnant with their first child in 2012. He has brought over just the one horse, winner of the Sydney CCI4*-L last year, and is based with British team trainer Christopher Bartle in Yorkshire while the Australian Olympic selection process is underway.

“It was a big commitment to come here – my poor partner is teaching flat out while I’m away,” he explained. “I went to New Zealand last year for the Trans-Tasman competition and got a bit of a taste for travel. It’s got to be done [a visit to Europe] – I went to Badminton on cross-country day and it was amazing.”

The dressage phase for the Connollys Red Mills CCI4*-S, which incorporates the FEI Nations CupTM, continues tomorrow. British team rider Stephen Heal is currently second on Quidam de Lux, ahead of the USA’s Alyssa Phillips (Oskar) and the New Zealand couple Jonelle and Tim Price riding McClaren and Chio 20 respectively.

U.S. Olympic long-listed rider Caroline Pamukcu leads the Noel C Duggan Engineering CCI4*-L, for which the dressage phase is now complete, on the nine-year-old mare She’s The One, formerly ridden for France by Gaspar Maksud.

Caroline, who is trained by Pippa Funnell, is one of six riders of the USEF European Developmental Tour and was awarded the Karen Stives grant in memory of the 1984 Olympic medallist.

Her mark of 28.2 is the mare’s best at this level and gives her a 3.5-penalty advantage over the Netherlands’ Andrew Heffernan riding Gideon. Nine nations are represented among the 19 CCI4*-L competitors, with Sam Watson, ninth on Ballyneety Rocketman, the best-placed Irish rider.

The winners of the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers were John Tilley with Jerpoint Will (four-year-old) and Ciara O’Connor riding Ashwood Rio.

Owners and riders have been admiring the beautifully presented cross-country tracks where, despite an extremely wet spring, there are some 50 newly built fences. ‘The weather has been a challenge,’ commented 4* and 3* designer Mike Etherington-Smith, who observed that Millstreet has received some 6ft of water over the past 12 months. ‘The knock-on effect of that is that we have had to be flexible with our plans and it’s all thanks to Thomas Duggan [event director] and his excellent team.’

Dressage for all classes bar the CCI4*-L continues tomorrow (Friday) from 8am.

Millstreet International Horse Trials (Nations Cup) (Co. Cork, Ireland) [Website] [Entries] [Timetable] [Scoring] [Free Live Stream NC Dressage 1] [Free Live Stream NC Dressage 2] [Free Live Stream NC Show Jumping] [Free Live Stream NC Cross Country] [Complete Live Stream – CMH]

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