The action in the 2010 HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing moves ‘down under’ where a determined Megan Jones (AUS) will be travelling back to New Zealand to defend her title at the Mitavite International Horse Trials at Kihikihi this weekend (2-4 April).
Jones was one of the most successful HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing riders in 2009, winning the Sydney (AUS) leg as well, and led the standings leaderboard for most of last year. If she can replicate that form, she will have as much chance as any of winning the lion’s share of the US$180,000 on offer to the top 15 riders in the series, which comes to a climax at Schenefeld (GER) in August after 12 CIC***-W events in 10 countries across three continents.
Jones is bringing the same horse as last time, her talented little home-bred grey Kirby Hall Irish Jester, on which she won a team silver medal and finished 4th individually at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong.
However, the New Zealanders will not be letting go without a fight; the 18-strong field includes three former Kihikihi winners: Heelan Tompkins on Olympic ride Sugoi plus Major Difference, Matthew Grayling (NRW Lowenberg), and Clarke Johnstone (Oakley Vision).
Public entrance is free to Kihikihi, near Awamutu in New Zealand’s North Island, where spectators can again enjoy the Cross-Country course designed by John Nicholson (NZL) (brother of well-known rider Andrew), which has an entertaining – but always challenging – Winnie the Pooh theme from the classic children’s books. Dressage takes place on Friday, Cross-Country on Saturday and Jumping on Sunday.
Event director Bruce Bason says, “We have a truly top class field of entries this year and we are delighted to see Megan Jones back from Australia. We wholeheartedly support the changes made to the format of this year’s HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing and the significant prize pool will ensure an exciting three days of competition.”
Follow Kihikihi on www.thehorseevent.co.nz
Current standings (after 1 of 12 events)
1 Mara Dean (USA) - 71 points
2 Phillip Dutton (USA) - 67
3 Will Coleman (USA) - 64
4 Bonnie Mosser (USA) - 61
5 Allison Springer (USA) - 4
Calendar of events:
1. Tallahassee (USA), 5-7 March
2. Kihikihi (NZL), 2-4 April
3. Sydney (AUS), 7-9 May
4. Marbach (GER), 7-9 May
5. Chatsworth (GBR), 15-16 May
6. Tattersalls (IRL), 27-30 May
7. Strzegom (POL), 24-27 June
8. Minsk (BLR), 21-25 July
9. Rebecca Farm, Kalispell (USA), 22-25 July
10. Malmö (SWE), 13-15 August
11. Martinvast (FRA), TBC, 18-22 August
12. Schenefeld (GER), 26-29 August