Always an exciting competition, this year’s Puhinui International 3 Day Event has a little extra spice for a number of reasons. Eventing’s superstar couple, Jonelle and Tim Price, who have had a dream eventing season in Europe, will be on hand to share their wealth of knowledge with riders and spectators alike. They will be involved in a variety of activities, from leading walks around the cross country, talking at the Thompson Electrical Breakfast with the Stars on Saturday morning through to being in the fan zone each day ready for questions, autographs and photographs.
Adding to this year’s mix, popular British rider Nick Gauntlett is bringing his newly acquired Australian horse, El Grado to compete in the Honda New Zealand CCI***, the premier event. He will be going up against ten of New Zealand’s best home based riders, including Clarke Johnstone with his beautiful white horse, Balmoral Sensation. This pair have won every major onshore eventing title bar this one. Taranaki Olympians Heelan Tompkins and Matthew Grayling will also be aiming to win the big class again, with Matthew being the current title holder. This year he is riding NRM Lowenberg.
Leader of the year-long Super League series, Donna Smith with Tangolooma, will be looking to win to extend their lead. Fraser King and Nadal KSNZ are currently second, and are in great form going into this event having just won the National One Day title in Christchurch.
Two South Island riders will be keen to see the trophy heading their way. Annabel Wigley has NRM Enzo entered while Emily Cammock is going to be the busiest rider at the event with five horses. Two of these will be in the Honda 3*, Dambala and Shaw Lee.
Shelley Ross and Coleraine Coaltown were winners of the CCI** at Puhinui two years ago and will be popular winners in the top class, if they can pull off this one. Jessica Woods and Christen Hayde can’t be discounted either, both of them riding horses who love going cross country.
Adding to the international flavour of the event are the UK based kiwis who have come home to compete at these horse trials and have a bit of summertime at home. Blyth Tait, Annabel Wigley, Juliet Wood and Alice Montgomery are all fresh off the plane (some very fresh!) but have organised themselves some great horses and will be very competitive in the various classes they are entered in. Blyth has already shown winning form with Leo Distinction recently and must be a contender for the Cato Packaging CCI** title.
Diane Gilder has the Taupo 3 Day Event 2* title already, can she pull off this one too? The lovely Greensleeves and Megan Finlayson are another combination who could take it out, as could Amanda Pottinger with either of her horses in this class. Don’t discount Donna Smith either. She has won here before many times, and her horse Cluny is all class.
The new ingredient for this event is the National Three Day Event Young Rider and Junior Rider titles which are up for grabs. Will there be future Olympians in amongst the contestants? Sarah Young is the only rider with two horses in the Honda New Zealand CCI** Young Rider, but it is a very tight contest, as is the Devi Heating Systems CCI* Junior Rider class.
The Veterinary Associations CCI* has a very good field lined up. Hard to pick a winner here, there are some combinations with good form entered. Clarke Johnstone and Quainton Labyrinth were National ODE winners in Christchurch in November, and he also thinks very highly of his other horse in this class, Sportsman II. Tayla Mason on the ever-trusty Royalty also had a good result at in Christchurch, and there will be much interest in the new combination of Abbey Lawrence and Song.
The entries are excellent in the Horse & Pony CCN105. Two young riders make their 3 day debut with two very experienced horses. Greer Caddigan will be on Fletch . com and Ellie Braddock is on Too Predictable. Courtney Romcke will be busy, she has four horses entered in this class.
39 combinations line up in the Point Two CNC* including Eventing NZ’s Board Chair, Todd Gloyn. The field ranges from the experienced veterans like Campbell Draper to some of the up and coming riders like Brianna Butler Gallie.
The Fiber Fresh/Prestige Equestrian CNC105 has the most entries with 76 ready to go. There are also great entries for the Eventers Challenge, sponsored by NPC Health, Equilibrium and Spurs of Counties. This is a fun event run over a combination of cross country and showjumping fences on Sunday.
The main action starts on Friday with dressage. Jonelle and Tim Price will be leading educational cross country course walks both in the morning and after the dressage competition has been completed later in the day. This is an great opportunity for members of the public to get jumping tips from the No 2 and 13 ranked event riders in the world.
The all-exciting cross country phase starts at 9am on Saturday with the elite class starting just after noon. With the large entries in the lower classes, it will be a full day of cross country, with the last rider due on course at approximately 5pm.
Sunday is when the all-important showjumping phase is on, with the winners expected to be known by 3 o’clock. They will all assemble for the prize giving and the thrill of doing their victory laps including the long-held Puhinui traditional of galloping through the water jump in the middle of the main arena.
We’re looking forward to a taste of the excitement that is Puhinui International 3 Day Event. Are you?
For more information, please visit our website www.3dayevent.co.nz
Media are welcome to contact Jane Thompson on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 100 2503
Press conferences will be held at the conclusion of each day with the top 3 in the Honda NZ CCI*** attending as well as Jonelle and Tim Price. At the conclusion of the event, the Young Rider and Junior Rider title winners will join the other major class winners at the press conference.
Entry is free on Friday.
Saturday and Sunday cost $5 per person, with children under 13 free.
Jonelle & Tim Price’s course walks are free. Assemble at the first cross country jump at 10:30 and 5pm on Friday