Eventers ready to impress in France
16 May 2012
Four Australian riders who were due to compete at the Badminton Horse Trials will start at this weekend’s Saumur CCI3* (FRA) in a bid to impress selectors ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games team selection.
After the cancellation of Badminton, Australia’s overseas based eventers had to revise their plans ahead of selection, with Saumur CCI3* offering a good opportunity ahead of team selection in mid-June.
With just five spots to fill selectors will have a tough task choosing from the depth of Eventing talent both overseas and back in Australia.
“All of our riders who are competing at Saumur are on the Olympic Shadow Squad so there will be solid competition amongst our riders. Selection is still wide open at this stage so they really need to put in a good performance,” said National Performance Director for Eventing, Prue Barrett.
“I’m hoping to see our guys clean up this weekend. We have eight combinations in action and they’re all showing really solid form so we should see some good results,” she added.
Beijing Silver Medallist Clayton Fredericks is a two time winner of the event and returns to Saumur to defend the 2011 title which he won with Bendigo. This year he’ll compete with Walterstown Don and Be My Guest. Walterstown Down comes into the event in good form having taken third place at Jardy CIC3* two weeks earlier.
Fredericks’ compatriots are certain to be his toughest competition. Also showing form is Bill Levett who finished second at Jardy with One to Many NJ. The combination was also second behind Fredericks and Bendigo at Saumur last year.
“A lot of Australians are going to be at Saumur and there are a lot of very good combinations that are in good form so we’ll have to do a good job and have a bit of luck,” said Levett. “The nice thing for me is that I’ve got two very nice horses, they’re good jumpers, good on the flat and good at cross country so I’ve got a chance, I’ve just go to stay positive.”
Australian riders have fared well at Saumur, in addition to Fredericks being a two time winner, past champions also include Sam Griffiths (2008 Happy Times) and David Green (2001 Faerie Dazzler; 1995 Chatsby; 1988 Shannag).
Australians competing at Saumur CCI3* are:
Chris Burton – Holstein Park Leilani and Haruzac
Clayton Fredericks – Be My Guest and Walterstown Don
Bill Levett – One to Many NJ and Hippolyte
Paul Tapner – Wickstead Didgeridoo and Kilronan
Paul Tapner was also looking to compete also with Innonothing at Saumur but due to a minor injury will now look towards to either Tattersalls CCI3* (IRL) end May or Luhmuhlen CCI4* (GER) in mid-June. Lucinda Fredericks has opted to take Flying Finish to Luhmuhlen CCI4* (GER) and therefore will not start this weekend.