Lausanne (SUI), 19 November, 2012 – Riders in the northern hemisphere may have packed up for their winter break, but it’s all go at the other side of the world as competitors prepare for their premier event, Australia’s International 3 Day Event in Adelaide, the second leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2012/2013.
The Australian event offers them a chance to get a foothold on the leaderboard for the valuable HSBC FEI Classics, in which last year’s Adelaide winner, Stuart Tinney (AUS), secured fifth place in the overall standings for the 2011/2012 season.
This year, Tinney, an Olympic gold medallist in 2000, rides the 14-year-old grey Pluto Mio, recent winner of the Goulburn CIC3*.
Two members of Australia’s 2008 Olympic silver medal team are competing: Shane Rose, who rides APH Moritz, second behind Pluto Mio at Goulburn and a recent winner of Berrima CIC3*, and Megan Jones.
Lausanne (SUI), 28 October 2012 – Andrew Nicholson (NZL) crowned perhaps the best season of his long and distinguished career when he won Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), the first leg of the 2012/2013 HSBC FEI Classics, on Libby Sellars’ talented chestnut Nereo this weekend.
The only rider to complete on his Dressage score, Pau was Nicholson’s fourth consecutive international victory this autumn, following Burghley, Blenheim and Boekelo, and his fourth CCI4* triumph in a career that has spanned some 30 years.
“This is what it’s all about,” said the hard-working New Zealander as he was congratulated afterwards. “Winning one CCI4* in 10 years is pretty good and to win two in two months feels amazing.
“I’m proud to be riding such classy horses, which is what I do this sport for. Nereo is probably the best Cross Country horse in the world and in the Jumping phase I knew that if I did my job we could win.”
Lausanne (SUI), 27 October 2012 – Jonathan Paget (NZL) rode across country with typical New Zealand verve to take a slender lead at the end of a thrilling day at Les Etoiles de Pau, the first leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2012/2013.
Olympic champion Michael Jung (GER) is breathing down Paget’s neck after an equally classy display on Leopin FST, while Paget’s compatriot Andrew Nicholson, who steered two horses round clear and inside the optimum time, is third on Nereo, and young Astier Nicolas (FRA) thrilled the large home crowd with a flamboyant clear on Jhakti du Janlie to claim overnight fourth.
Just one Jumping rail covers the top four riders after a day of unexpected drama over a Cross Country course which rewarded bold, committed riding.
Lausanne (SUI), 26 October 2012 – Christopher Burton, Australia’s latest Eventing star, performed an outstanding Dressage test on Underdiscussion, to sweep into the lead at Les Etoiles de Pau, the first leg of the 2012/2013 HSBC FEI Classics.
After a test that was full of impulsion and expression, Burton was awarded the only 10 of the day, by Ground Jury President Christian Landolt (SUI) for the halt, and heads a strong field with the good score of 34.8.
Burton has 1.0 penalties in hand over the equally exciting young New Zealand competitor Jonathan Paget on Clifton Promise. Both riders are now based in Britain and were pathfinders for their teams at the London Olympic Games, Paget finishing 10th and winning a team bronze medal on the same horse, and Burton finishing 16th overall on Holstein Park Leilani.
Lausanne (SUI), 22 October 2012 – The organising team at Les Etoiles des Pau (FRA), 24-28 October 2012, the first event in the HSBC FEI Classics 2012/2013 season, have described this year’s entry as “a dream” with members of the gold, silver and bronze medal-winning teams at the London 2012 Olympic Games heading to the popular CCI4* in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the hope of gaining a valuable early foothold on the HSBC FEI Classics leaderboard.
Germany’s Michael Jung, the first rider in history to hold Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously, heads a distinguished field with Leopin FST, the horse on which he won on home ground in Luhmühlen earlier this year, and will be viewed by many as the man to beat.
Britain’s Olympic team silver medallist William Fox-Pitt, winner of three HSBC FEI Classics titles (2012, 2010, 2008) and a record 50 CCIs, has entered three horses: Navigator, the 2010 runner-up back in action after a year on the injury list, Bramham (GBR) winner Chilli Morning, a stallion and new ride for Fox-Pitt this year, and the nine-year-old Bay My Hero, a recent runner-up at Blenheim (GBR) CIC3* in the eight- and nine-year-old class.
Burghley (GBR), 31 August 2012 – In an extraordinary finale to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), the evergreen New Zealander Andrew Nicholson seized his third victory in 17 years at this popular venue while William Fox-Pitt’s third place was good enough – by just one point – to win him a third HSBC FEI Classics title.
Fox-Pitt (GBR), riding Parklane Hawk, had two fences down and Nicholson (on Avebury) one on an influential Jumping track. Between them, they handed the overnight leader Sinead Halpin (USA) a two-fence margin, but to the disbelief of the crowds in the packed stands, the ever-smiling American, who has won many admirers in Britain this week, hit three rails on Manoir de Carneville and finished second.
“It’s a few years since I’ve won a CCI4*, but it just shows you have to keep going in this sport,” said an overwhelmed Nicholson, 51. “I’ve had Avebury since he was a foal and there have been days when he’s let me down and days when he probably thought I let him down, so this is very satisfying.”
Burghley (GBR), 31 August 2012 – Sinead Halpin (USA), who was first reserve for the US Olympic team, finally got her moment in the sun when she took a convincing lead after the Dressage phase at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), finale of the 2011-2012 HSBC FEI Classics.
Halpin, 30, who won the HSBC Training Bursary when third on Manoir de Carneville at her CCI4* debut, Rolex Kentucky in 2011, was 15th at Burghley last year, but her test this time was 10 marks better – 36.5 – and she has a 3.7 penalty margin over the chasing pack.
“It felt good from the moment he went in there,” Halpin said, after earning the only sub-40 dressage mark with an exquisite display of elastic paces, smooth transitions and general showmanship.
“The horse picked up straight away and did some fabulous work, especially the medium trot. I had high expectations, but to be in first place in this company in Britain is amazing. Insane, even!”
Lausanne (SUI), 28 August 2012 – This weekend’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) (30 August – 2 September) looks set to provide a thrilling climax to the HSBC FEI Classics 2012 series, with a bumper international entry and a surge in ticket sales following the huge success of the equestrian events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Britain’s Eventing summer has been something of a washout and both riders and spectators are clearly looking forward to some high-quality sport in the beautiful park at Burghley. The organisers have received a record entry and will run up to 90 horses representing 11 nations.
Olympians in the field include team gold medallist Dirk Schrade (GER) on Hop And Skip, plus silver medallists William Fox-Pitt (GBR) with last year’s winner Parklane Hawk and Seacookie, and Mary King (GBR) on her home-bred mare Kings Temptress, third last year.
Four members of New Zealand’s bronze medal team will also be competing: Andrew Nicholson, who brings Avebury, the runner-up in 2011, plus either Calico Joe or Mr Cruise Control, Mark Todd (Major Milestone), Jonathan Paget (Clifton Lush) and Caroline Powell (Boston Two Tip).
Lausanne (SUI), 17 June 2012 – Michael Jung (GER), riding Leopin FST, added yet another accolade to his glittering career when he won the CCI4* at Luhmühlen (GER), the penultimate leg of the HSBC FEI Classics, much to the delight of a loudly cheering home crowd.
Earlier in the day he had won the German national title with Weidezaunprofi’s River of Joy, and his assured performance over the weekend will make him an obvious favourite to win gold at the London Olympic Games in six weeks’ time – the Jumping phase even takes place on Jung’s 30th birthday, July 31.
“It’s very nice to be sitting here,” said Jung. “I have some wonderful horses that are in great form. Leopin was fantastic on the Cross Country and it is nice to know that he can do everything. I just made a little mistake in the Jumping, coming in too fast to the combination, where we had four faults.”
The Jumping phase at Luhmühlen, on an all-weather surface in the revamped main arena, proved influential, with a tight time, and there was some re-arranging of the top 10 placings.