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Blenheim In Kiwi Sights

Blenheim In Kiwi Sights

Top Kiwi eventers are once again in action this weekend at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, which starts this evening (Thursday NZ time) near Oxford, in the UK

Among the many combinations to start in the three star three day event will be a New Zealand team, taking part in the London 2012 Olympics eventing qualifier. While the Kiwis have already qualified, thanks to their 2010 bronze medal at the World Championships in Kentucky, high performance leader Erik Duvander sees it as the ideal opportunity to try new and young combinations within a team environment.

The very in-form Andrew Nicholson, fresh from his second placing at the Burghley International Horse Trials last weekend, will spear-head the New Zealand team aboard his rising star Qwanza, with Clarke Johnstone on Orient Express, Jonathan Paget on Clifton Razz, Lucy Jackson on Willy Do and Neil Spratt on Elton II.

Just three of the five scores will count towards the team total.

The qualifier – for Africa, Middle East, South East Asia and Oceania – is vitally important for Japan and Australia, although our trans Tasman cousins will only field a four-strong team. Only one nation from Blenheim will qualify for London. Hosts Great Britain, along with Canada, New Zealand, United States, Germany, Belgium, France and Sweden, have already qualified.

More than 100 entries have been received for the three day event, which starts this evening (Thursday NZ time) with the dressage, which continues through Friday, with the cross country and showjumping wrapping up on Sunday (NZ time).

Nicholson will also start Quimbo in the three day event, while Mark Todd on NZB Campino, Dan Jocelyn on Brookfield de Bouncer, Jesse Campbell on Kaapachino and Lucy Jackson on Kilcoltrim Ambassador will compete in the one day event for eight and nine-year-old horses.

Todd won the one day event last year aboard NZB Land Vision, who then went on to win Badminton, while the three day event was won by Burghley winner William Fox-Pitt (GBR) on the Kiwi thoroughbred Parklane Hawk.

More than 60,000 spectators are expected at the event over the four days.


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