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Final Eventing line-up named

24 August 2006

Australian selectors have chosen two local and two overseas-based riders to contest the team Three-Day Event at the World Equestrian Games in Germany.

After the pre-dressage horse inspection today, the Eventing selectors announced the Australian team in riding order would be:

  • Sonja Johnson (WA) and Ringwould Jaguar
  • Megan Jones (SA) and Kirby Park Irish Jester
  • Clayton Fredericks (UK) and Ben Along Time
  • Andrew Hoy (UK) and Master Monarch

US-based Phillip Dutton on Connaught and Shane Rose from NSW on All Luck will ride as individuals.

Eventing coach Wayne Roycroft said choosing between the final six combinations for team and individual spots was extremely difficult.

“We’ve got to look at all the results and the way the horses are going now,” Roycroft said.

“It was very difficult. I think whatever way we went with this six we really would have come up with a nice team – I just hope we got the right mix.”

The Australian team had a few tense moments during the trot-up, when Hoy’s Master Monarch was sent to the holding box so the judges could have another look.

However, he passed when he was re-presented.

Roycroft said it was a complete surprise to the Aussie camp.

“Ever since he’s been in camp – we trot them every day and even on that strip four to five times – he’s never, ever put a foot wrong,” he said.

“He becomes tense and comes against the bit a bit … but he’s totally fit and ready to go. We don’t see that he’s got any soundness problem whatsoever.” 

There was a lot of support for the existing team from all the selectors.

“I think it was quite unanimous. That’s how it’s been right from when the selectors decided on the final six.”

Roycroft's thoughts on the team - 

“Sonja’s horse will be running out first because she’s an individual in the way she approaches the cross country. She will ride the course pretty much as she figures … so to me she’s the ideal person to run first.

“Megan’s form would give her an excellent chance of an individual medal here. In the dressage she could do a very, very good test, she’s very careful showjumping and in a way the cross-country course will suit her. It’s sort of twisty with quite tough, technical lines so it will suit the little horse. I’m looking forward to seeing the performance from her. 

“Clayton has been having strong 3-star performances but doesn’t have a lot of depth in 4-star. It’s a wonderful horse with a lot of potential. Clayton’s horse at this stage we’d like to think will be right up there with them if he competes to the form he’s been showing in camp.

“And of course Master Monarch has had really solid 4-star performances. He’ll probably be giving them a little bit of a start after the [dressage] test, although his test looks very secure so I imagine he will score well but I don’t see him being among the very top horses after the test, but from then on he’ll be a very strong performer.”

“Really when you look at Phillip, he is a very, very strong rider but maybe the horse is lacking on form a little bit although it still had quite a strong 4-star performance at [the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in] Lexington. Phillip pushed very hard for selection because the horse has improved enormously throughout the camp.” 

“Shane’s horse has also improved a lot and he’s quite capable of doing a very, very good test and that’s improved a lot throughout camp with Harry’s help. Shane’s horse is a really, really exciting horse for the future.”

Australia won back-to-back Eventing team gold at the Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney Olympics but is yet to enjoy the same level of success at the World Equestrian Games. Its best performances at WEG have been fourth placings at The Hague in 1994 and Jerez, Spain, in 2002.

Equestrian Federation of Australia

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