TransTasman Clash Anticipated at World Cup Equestrian Event >>

TransTasman Clash Anticipated at World Cup Equestrian Event >>
Two top-ranking Australian riders are making the trip to New Zealand to compete in the FEI World CupTM Event at Kihikihi this weekend (8-10th April 2011). Shane Rose, silver medallist at the Beijing Olympic Games, and Chris Burton, a member of the Australian 2011 World Equestrian Games team, are no strangers to this level of competition and both are bringing their top horses to Kihikihi. They will join a field of 15 New Zealand entries all looking to take home a share of the $37,500 prize pool and secure points for the prestigious title of FEI World Cup™ Eventing Champion 2011.

In previous years, there has been a sizable gap between the score of the winning Australian rider and the best-placed New Zealander at Kihikihi. But this year, things may be different. Eventing High Performance Leader Erik Duvander observes “I think for the last couple of years, we felt slightly beaten before they [the Australian riders] arrived! We now have a bit of a turn on that. No guarantees, but I think it is more of a level playing field. Our riders have stepped up to a new level. ….It is going to be a really exciting weekend.”

Frontrunners among the New Zealand entries are Lizzie Brown and Clarke Johnstone. Both riders are part of the current New Zealand Eventing squad and both will be shifting to the UK after Kihikihi to campaign for the 2012 London Olympics. Brown has entered her top horse, Henton Attorney General, who has an impeccable competition record in New Zealand. The World Cup class at Kihikihi remains one of the few titles which they haven’t managed to snare. World Equestrian Games bronze-medallist Clarke Johnstone is also bringing his top mount, Orient Express, and will be hoping to win his second World Cup class. Both riders have other young talented horses entered in the class. “These are young people with big ambitions putting themselves on the line” observes Duvander.
Kihikihi is the first event of the 2011 FEI World CupTM Eventing series. It will be followed by a round in Sydney (6-8 May) and then 5 rounds in Europe. The title of FEI World Cup™ Eventing Champion 2011 and final cash prize will be decided on points gained from the FEI World CupTM Eventing rounds.

The event at Kihikihi starts with the dressage on Friday 8th April, cross-country on Saturday 9th April and concludes with show-jumping on Sunday 10th April. Aside from the equestrian competition, there will be a trade village, a novelty fun run over the cross-country course, live music and a classic car picnic. Spectators are welcome at the event; there will be a gold coin donation at the gate.

Photo: Chris Burton at Sydney

Date Added: Wednesday, 6th April 2011