Kiwis off to a great start at Adelaide

Team NZL looking absolutely gorgeous after the CCI4* first horse inspection: Clarke Johnstone; Christiana Ober (ESNZ HP Vet); Andy Daines; Samantha Felton; Ginny Thompson; Graeme Thom (ESNZ HP Eventing Manager); Donna Smith and Jonathan Paget (ESNZ HP Coach) (Image: Libby Law)

There were no issues for the Kiwis at the first trot-up of the 2017 Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3-Day Event! Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.

Held in parkland, right in the middle of the beautiful city, the event is in its 20th year and it is set to be bigger than ever with an amazing programme of equestrian events from Thursday to Sunday November 19.

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation at the CCI4* First Horse Inspection (Image: Libby Law)

Thursday involves dressage for the two- and three-star classes, with the first competitor stepping into the Brand SA Main Arena for the Horseland CCI2* at 9am.

The CCI4* dressage starts on Friday at 1.10pm and NZ Horse & Pony will be there to bring you all the action.

Overall, the three classes of competition have attracted more than 80 competitors, including Hazel Shannon on her horse Willinga Park Clifford, who have returned to Adelaide to defend their 2016 CCI4* title. Hazel has a strong challenge from the New Zealanders, however, with Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation being the hot favourites. These two were third last time they competed here.

Donna Edwards-Smith and DSE Mr Hokey Pokey (Image: Libby Law)

Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) has the so-very-cute palomino DSE Mr Hokey Pokey here, stepping up to four-star for the first time. His little yellow legs will have to go very fast to get around that course close to the time, but he has the heart to do those jumps, for sure! Donna is also riding DSE Tangolooma, who was 16th here in 2013 and is back from injury, ready to have another crack at it.

Donna and DSE Tangolooma (Image: Libby Law)

Samantha Felton (Matangi) and Ricker Ridge Pico Boo are having their first four-star start together. The pair were third here last year in the three-star class. Andy Daines (Kumeu) is back with Spring Panorama for his second attempt at this event; he finished 10th last year. Another first-timer at four-star level is Ginny Thompson (Kaukapakapa) with her mare Star Nouveau; these two have good form coming into this event.

Sam Felton and Ricker Ridge Pico Boo are having their first four-star start (Image: Libby Law)

Another New Zealander, Laura Wallace, is competing in the three- and two-star classes with Van Heck entered in the CIC3* and Black Crest in the CCI2*. Laura is based in Australia now.

Also flying the New Zealand flag will be Katie Laurie, who is competing in the World Cup qualifying event in show jumping on Sunday.

Dr Felicity-ann Lewis, Aus3DE Chair, says that everything is set for an excellent competition, and that the Adelaide parklands are looking better than ever, providing a beautiful backdrop for this unique city equestrian event. “We have a very strong field of 21 entries in the Mitsubishi Motors CCI4*, Olympic-standard competition, with Australia’s best horses vying for top honours, along with a strong contingent of six horses from New Zealand.”

She adds that under the stewardship of Event Director Gillian Rolton and her team, the MMAus3DE is going from strength to strength.

Ginny Thompson and Star Nouveau  (Image: Libby Law)

Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said equestrian enthusiasts from all over the world would be focused on Adelaide this weekend. There is certainly a big contingent of New Zealanders over there to support the Kiwi eventers.

Andy Daines and Spring Panorama (Image: Libby Law)

The Aus3DE is the only four-star competition in the Southern Hemisphere and attracts competitors from around the world. More than 25,000 spectators are expected to attend.

Jackson Bovill was among the onlookers at the CCI4* trot-up (Image: Libby Law)