Friday, December 10, 2010


 With the World Equestrian Games now history but the glow of the New Zealand
  eventing team bronze medal still burning bright, the elite of the sport will
  gather at the iconic Puhinui Reserve for the Auckland International
  Three-day Event from 10-12 December, hoping to catch the selectors’ eye with
  the London Olympics now on the horizon.

  Fourteen of the country’s best horse and rider combinations will contest the
  top class, the CCI3* (Concours Complet Internationale), although team
  members Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Jock Paget (Muriwai) will ride their
  second string horses, their team horses resting after the trip to Kentucky.

  Paget will ride Frances Stead’s Clifton Pinot, while Johnstone has Incognito
  in good form, currently lying fourth in the Bell Tea Super League series,
  which runs throughout the competition year, culminating at the National
  Three-day Event at Taupo next May. But the field is full of potential
  internationals keen to finish in front of these young guns, in particular
  Emily Butcher (Christchurch) on Southern Ben, who is returning after injury
  sustained while short-listed for the Beijing Olympics. Butcher leads the
  Bell Tea standings jointly with fellow Cantabrian Brent Jury, the farrier
  from Cust, who was the surprise winner of the National One-day Event
  Championships at Richfields, near Te Kauwhata, a fortnight ago. Lizzie Brown
  (Cambridge) holds third and fifth place with Push Play and Henton Attorney
  General, both of whom she is taking to the UK next year to campaign for a
  place in the New Zealand team for London 2012.

  The Auckland Super City is continuing to support this top class, formerly
  sponsored by Manukau City, with mayor Len Brown expected to attend. The
  event winds up the spring eventing season, and marks the halfway stage in
  the Bell Tea Super League, offering double points, so will be keenly

  The dressage phase of the event takes place on Friday, with the
  cross-country, the spectacular part of the event on Saturday, and
  showjumping on Sunday for those who pass the final veterinary inspection.

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