Millstreet, Day One: Top Price Puts New Zealand in the Lead

Tim Price and Falco lead the way after day one of dressage in the CCIO4*-S, presented by Connolly’s RED MILLS. Photo by Bit-Media.

World number one rider Tim Price has put the New Zealand team in a great position after the dressage phase in the Irish leg of the FEI Nations Cup series, held at Millstreet, County Cork, this weekend.

New Zealand heads the CCIO4*-S leaderboard of seven nations with a team score of 86.0 before Saturday’s showjumping phase. The three counting scores are from Tim Price (Falco, 24.6), Samantha Lissington (Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, 30.3) and Clarke Johnstone (Menlo Park, 31.1), while fourth team member Jonelle Price is only a penalty behind on the diminutive McLaren.

The Prices and Clarke were members of the bronze-medal winning team at last year’s world championships, therefore New Zealand is not under pressure for Olympic qualification in the CCIO3*-L team competition starting tomorrow at Millstreet, in which the first two nations not already qualified will secure a team place at Paris 2024.

“We are taking it seriously, though, because we want to make a good showing,” said Tim. “The powers that be back at home in New Zealand will be watching this and we want to show them that we’re on track. We’re very glad that we have the good going in all three phases here at Millstreet in order to be able to demonstrate that.”

The Netherlands are in second place in the FEI Nations Cup, presented by Connelly’s Red Mills, on a team score of 97.3, with Andrew Heffernan currently in third place individually on Gideon on 27.9 dressage penalties. Belgium, the country that heads the FEI Nations Cup leaderboard after two legs, are third on 99.2, with the very experienced combination of Karin Donckers and Fletcha van’t Verahof in second place individually on 26.6.

Ireland is in fourth place on 99.3, with Joseph Murphy and Calmaro the best placed in fourth individually with the excellent score of 30.1 from judges Anne-Marie Taylor (GBR), Jane Holderness-Roddam (GBR) and Vanda Stewart (IRL).

Tim Price and Falco, a 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding owned by Sue Benson, also won the individual bronze medal at the 2022 world championships at Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy. “He was a bit sprightly in the arena, but if you can catch him on the edge of his exuberance you get something special,” said Tim afterwards.

Equiratings, the Irish data analysts for eventing, actually rate Tim’s secondride tomorrow, Happy Boy, as the best horse in the CCI4*. Among the other highlighted horses are Fletcha van’t Verahof, McLaren, Camaro, Kirsty Chabert’s mare Classic Vl, a member of the fifth-placed British team and Australian rider Kevin McNab’s Willunga, who performs dressage tomorrow. Happy Boy is last to go tomorrow, at 7.30pm.

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