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Todd & NZB Gandalf Ready for Olympic Test

Todd & NZB Gandalf Ready for Olympic Test

Todd and NZB Gandalf competing at Arran Station earlier this year.

Mark Todd and NZB Gandalf's Olympic quest sees them having touched down in Hong Kong ready for whatever Beijing 2008 has to throw at them.

In an amazing feat to come from retirement earlier this year, form a partnership with a new horse plus qualify and be selected for the New Zealand Olympic Eventing Team, Todd has further justified his crowning as the International Equestrian Federation's Rider of the 20th Century. Adding to the occasion, Todd and eventing team-mate Andrew Nicholson's selection sees them become New Zealand's first six-time Olympians.

Todd reported that the team's horses travelled well and arrived in good heart, with NZB Gandalf taking it all in his usual relaxed manner. He also said "It's very hot during the day but the competition itself is scheduled to be in the morning and evening so hopefully it won't be too bad. The fantastic facilities the Hong Kong Jockey Club has developed for the Games include air conditioned stables, an air conditioned indoor school to work in along with a huge selection of other arenas, cross country course and gallop tracks. There is also a fully equipped state-of-the-art vet hospital and everything seems to be running smoothly."

For their first ride at the venue, Todd took Gandalf out for a quiet hack and relayed that he was very 'full of himself'. He will have an easy couple of days before they start training seriously in their final build up.

The Olympic comeback has been just eight months from whoa to go with Todd commenting on the journey so far saying "It's hard to believe that we have finally made it to the Games. It started out as a wild long-shot chance at the beginning of the year and it's now about to come true. The time has gone so quickly, it seems like only a few weeks ago that we were saying that it won't be long before we leave for the United Kingdom and now it is almost time to come home again. We've just got this one big mission to complete."

The dressage phase is scheduled for this Saturday 9 August and will be held over two days. The gruelling cross country will be held on Monday 11 August with the show jumping phase the following day.

Click here to see Television One's scheduled coverage of the equestrian events.


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