New Zealand’s eventers are primed and ready to tackle the world’s best in Tokyo.
World No 2 Tim Price, No 7 Jonelle Price and Jesse Campbell, with alternate Bundy Philpott, are taking on 64 combinations.
The dressage test gets under way tomorrow, with the running order for New Zealand over the two days as Jonelle Price, Campbell, then Tim Price.
The cross-country course has already been shortened from 10 minutes to 8 owing to the expected heat. It’s the phase that attracts the most interest and New Zealand riders always hope it will be as tough as possible.
They agree it will be testing with a time that will be tough to make. Tim Price, who will ride Vitali, says it’s a big track with some challenging jumps.
“It will call for both thinking and very reactive riding,” he said. “Time is going to be really tight, but it will make for some amazing viewing.”
Jonelle Price, who rides Grovine de Reve, says some skilled and courageous riding will be needed.
“The track is beautifully presented on a unique site looking across the water and back to the city,” she says.
Jesse Campbell, who will be aboard Diachello, says the track is definitely fitting for an Olympic Games. “There will be problems evenly scattered. Not one sort of combination pops out as being incredibly tough, but they all need respecting. It will be about keeping your head on and doing a good job.”
There are four waters, which will also play a big part.
The field is impressive. Back-to-back individual gold medallist Michael Jung of Germany, the first rider to hold the European, Olympic and world championship titles simultaneously, will be chasing a hat-trick.
Twenty-nine countries will take part in the eventing, comprising 15 teams, 65 horse and rider combinations and 14 individuals.
New Zealand will also be represented in the showjumping by Bruce Goodin, Daniel Meech and Uma O’Neill, with Tom Tarver the alternate. The jumping starts with the individual qualifier next Tuesday, followed by the individual final on Wednesday, the jumping team qualifier on Friday and the jumping team final on Saturday.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games