Sarah Wells-Gaston reports..
New Zealand seal team victory at Camphire as Todd goes out on a high
New Zealand came out on top at the Sema Lease Camphire International Horse Trials in the FEI Nations Cup Eventing series as the sport bid farewell to one of its legends.
New Zealand had been in fourth after the dressage, with all three riders scores counting. However, they were catapulted into the lead following the cross country where leaders Sweden dropped down the leaderboard as riders incurred time penalties. Also jumping the leader board were the irish team who rose up to second. The British team who had been in second after the dressage dropped down to sixth place in the standings following the cross country.
Going into the show jumping, New Zealand had just over a pole in hand. And with one rider apiece dropping a pole they maintained their margin to take the win. It was a fairy-tale ending for team member Sir Mark Todd as he and team mates Tim and Jonelle Price took top honours finishing on a score of 98.8 penalties, edging Ireland into second (104.9) with Italy third (108.0).
As he stood on the winning podium Sir Mark Todd created a moment of equestrian history and an emotional response from around the arena by announcing his retirement from the sport. One of the greatest riders in the history of Equestrian Sport, New Zealand’s Mark Todd won gold medals at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) Olympics, the Badminton Horse Trials on four occasions, the Burghley Horse Trials five times, and as a member of New Zealand’s Eventing team, he won gold medals at the World Championships in 1990 and 1998, plus 20 or more other international events, and numerous other international individual and team titles.
“We are all pretty delighted,” said Sir Mark, who with Leonidas II finished in fifth place individually. “I couldn’t quite manage a clear round but it was enough to win the teams – the others were brilliant.”
Ireland’s Sam Watson rode headed the individual standings with Imperial Sky finishing on his dressage score of 27.7 amongst a field of world class competitors. Watson’s good form has has resulted in his call up to the Irish team for the forthcoming Longines FEI Eventing European Championships at Luhmuhlen. Tim Price finishing second on Bango (29.4) and Flora Harris coming our best of the British riders, who had to settle for sixth in the team competition, in third with Amazing (30.6).
Speaking afterwards about Ireland’s performance, a delighted Irish Eventing team manager Sally Corscadden said: “This was a great result on home soil against a very experienced Kiwi team and another brilliant win for Sam Watson.”
Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto and Vinci de la Ligne won the Sema Lease CCI 4* L ahead of New Zealander Jonelle Price in second and Felicity Collins from GB on Just Amazing in third.
Australia’s Kevin McNab! Kevin took home three magnificent pieces of Waterford Crystal after winning the Blarney Castle CCI 2* L with Ballycapple Whisper, the House of Waterford Crystal CCI 3* S with Fernhill Tabasco and the Plusvital CCI YH 2* S with Vidalgo.
Britain’s JP Sheffield took the Eventing Ireland CCI 2* S class by storm finishing on his dressage score of 28.1 to win it on Hikita and finishing 3rd on Woodlander Wesuvio on 30.7 with Ireland’s Cathal Daniels in second place on Cappog Tomy. Just one point separated each of the three top horses!
Sian Coleman won the Gain Equine Nutrition CCI 3* L on Kate Jarvey’s homebred mare Lady Baton Rouge and proved themselves a promising combination for the future.
Event Director Paul Brady commented:
“We were honoured to host the FEI Nations Cup and to have so many international competitors from around the globe. More nations were represented here in this beautiful part of Co Waterford than at any other Irish international. I am so grateful to our sponsors who enabled us to stage the event, and to all our volunteers who made it run so smoothly. The local community is amazing – it’s their support and involvement that make Camphire so unique.”