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NZ Eventers Ready to Take on the World

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EVENTING PREVIEW

NZ Eventers Ready to Take on the World

New Zealand's eventing team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are primed and ready to take on the best in France this week.

It's spear-headed by the very experienced Andrew Nicholson and Sir Mark Todd – New Zealand's most capped eventers – along with Jock Paget and Tim Price, with Jonelle Price and Lucy Jackson riding as individuals.

There's plenty of interest in the Kiwis, who on paper undoubtedly look to be one of just a handful of teams to beat. Each of the team riders has won at four star level – the highest level of competition in eventing.

This time they have their eyes on the top prize, but are also very knowing that with horses, anything can happen on the day.

Nicholson has been named on Nereo (owned by Libby Sellar), Todd on Leonidas (owned by Peter Cattrell and Di Brunsden), Price on Wesko (owned by Christina Knudsen, Peter Vela, Lucy Sangster and Kate Watchman), and Paget on Clifton Promise (owned by Frances Stead and Russell Hall).

Nicholson has ridden in all six World Equestrian Games, with his best individual result a bronze in Kentucky in 2010, when New Zealand also won a team bronze. He and Todd, who has ridden at four WEGs, were in the gold medal-winning team in 1990 in Stockholm. Todd was also in the team to take gold in 1998 in Rome.

It will be the second time Paget has ridden at WEG but his first in the team and he is hungry for success.

Price is on début at WEG, following his recent four star win at the Luhmuhlen International Horse Trials.

All are expecting a challenging cross country track from Pierre Michelet.

Eventing chef d'equipe and ESNZ high performance coach Erik Duvander says the heavy rain in recent days will add to the difficulty.

“We are here with the best possible preparation,” he says. “The horses have travelled well and the riders are all ready to go out and do their very best.”

The first inspection is on Wednesday afternoon (France time), followed by two days of dressage on Thursday and Friday, the cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday. Dressage and cross country is held at Le Pin National Stud, with the final discipline at the stade d'Ornano in Caen.

The team is -
Andrew Nicholson, Nereo (owned by Libby Sellar); Sir Mark Todd, Leonidas (owned by Peter Cattrell and Di Brunsden); Tim Price on Wesko (owned by Christina Knudsen, Peter Vela, Lucy Sangster and Kate Watchman) and Jock Paget on Clifton Promise (owned by Frances Stead and Russell Hall).

Individuals: Lucy Jackson, Willy Do (owned by Mark, Gillian and Charlotte Greenlees) and
Jonelle Price, Classic Moet (owned by Trisha Rickards). Reserves: Megan Heath, St Daniel.

The Fact Box
•The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games run from August 23 – September 7 in France.

• New Zealand will be represented by teams in endurance (Aug 28), eventing (Aug 28-31) and vaulting (Sept 2-5), and individuals in para-dressage (Aug 25-29) and showjumping (Sept 2-7).

• New Zealand has a very successful history at WEG – the team won gold in 1990 and 1998, and bronze in 2010. Individually, gold medals have been won by Blyth Tait and Messiah in 1990, Vaughn Jefferis and Bounce in 1994, and Tait and Ready Teddy in 1998. Todd and Broadcast News won silver in 1998, and in 2010 Andrew Nicholson and Nereo won bronze.

• WEG is held every four years in different locations.

• A record 76 countries are expected to take part, making it the world’s largest equestrian sport event which includes 1000 competitors.

• More than 500,000 people are expected to attend over the two weeks.

• For more information, head to www.normandy2014.com .

ENDS

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