All eyes are on Adelaide from this afternoon, when three of New Zealand’s best event riders will have a crack at the big league, the five-star class at the Mitsubishi Motors Adelaide Three-day Event.
Leading the charge is Muzi Pottinger and Just Kidding, who will be hoping to go one better than last year’s second place. She and ‘Ferg’ have had a great year, winning the CCI4* at HOY and coming a very close second in the National Champs at Taupo.
“The aim this year is to improve in all three phases and if we do that and end up with a ribbon, that’s a bonus,” says Muzi. “With Ferg now having another year of experience under his belt pushing for those more competitive scores, he should go back a more mature and seasoned horse . . . here’s hoping anyway.”
Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH are also looking for an improvement on last year, where they were on track for one of the best cross-country rounds until tripping up and falling right near the end of the course.
“I am really grateful to have the opportunity to take him back and have another go at a 5* on such a generous horse,” says Bundy, who wants to “right a few rider mistakes from last year”.
And for Diane Gilder and Your Attorney, it’s their first shot at the top level, though the pair contested the three-star back in 2011. The pair are in sizzling form this season, with wins from Arran Station, Flaxmere and Te Rapa, as well as winning the CCI4* at Puhinui back in March.
Australia-based Kiwi Hayley Frielick and Class Action LP round out the New Zealand contingent in the 21-strong CCI5*-L field, which includes Olympians Stuart Tinney and Megan Jones, and former winners Hazel Shannon with Willingapark Clifford. There is also the New Zealand horse LV Balou Jeanz, who was bred and produced by Jessica Woods, in the line-up, ridden by Sarah Clark.
New Zealand National Advanced Champ Madison Crowe is the only Kiwi in the 13-strong CCI4* class with Waitangi Pinterest, while Amalia Rowley and Mexico II is in the CCI3* class.
Bundy is the third rider out to do dressage this afternoon, at 12.45 (3.15pm NZ time). Muzi is lucky 13th to go, at 2.10pm (4.40pm NZ time), followed immediately by Diane.