New Zealand eventers disappoint at WEG

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 07:48 01/09/2014
Mark Todd
Getty Images
NZ EVENTER: Mark Todd.

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The New Zealand eventing team have finished 15th in a disappointing effort at the World Equestrian Games in France.

New Zealand's hopes crashed in the middle phase of the event in Normandy. After lying second following an encouraging dressage phase, they fell apart under wet conditions in the cross-country with only Jonelle Price in fourth and Andrew Nicholson fifth left in the field for the Kiwis.

Tim Price (Wesko) Lucy Jackson (Willy Do) and Mark Todd (Leonidas II) were all eliminated while Jock Paget (Clifton Promise) retired.

Price and Nicholson made no headway in the showjumping at the d'Ornano Stadium today.

Price, riding Classic Moet, dropped one fence in the jumping, but held on to finish a credible fourth.

But Nicholson was the most high profile casualty among the top 10. His expensive three fences down on Nereo meant he slipped to ninth overall.

It was a disastrous campaign by the Olympic bronze medalists from London two years ago.

A classy one-two from the German pair of Sandra Auffart and Michael Jung in the individual section gave Germany the team's gold medal.

They both had clear rounds to slip ahead of Britain's William Fox-Pitt whose one show jumping error cost him the title.

Britain were good enough to claim silver in the team's section.

Jung was gracious in relinquishing his individual title to his team mate.

''Sandra has always been just under the top placings,'' said Jung, who has dominated since 2009.

''She and her horse have a big partnership and their show jumping round was perfect so she really is the world champion.''

Price was delighted with her effort, considering it was just the second four star start for her black mare, though disappointed not to get a podium finish.

 "I came here hoping for a respectable performance  ... and never dreamed she (Classic Moet) would finish fourth at the worlds. This is the highlight of my career," Price said.

"But when you get that close to the medals, you can't help but think of what could have been."

Nicholson was disappointed with his showjumping demise, believing his mount had suffered from the rugged cross-country conditions that eliminated 32 of the 91 starters.

"We were five minutes from home and we had to slog through deep mud - that's what probably made the difference today," Nicholson said.

Eric Duvander, Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance coach and chef d'equipe at WEG, lamented the cross-country conditions.

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"The track was very well built and a proper WEG course, but the ground conditions were terrible," Duvander said.

"It was beyond what it should be. When you are at a championships, it shouldn't be like that. All our riders went as hard as they could. Their attitudes are inspirational."

TOP FIVE RESULTS (individual)

1 Sandra Auffarth (GER)/ Opgun Louvo - 52.0

2 Michael Jung (GER)/ Fischerrocana FST - 52.3

3 William Fox-Pitt (GBR)/ Chilli Morning - 54.3

4 Jonelle Price (NZL)/ Classic Moet - 56.5

5 Karin Donckers (BEL)/ Fletcha Van't Verahof - 59.9

Also: 9 Andrew Nichols (NZL) / Nereo - 64.5

Retired and eliminated New Zealanders: Jock Paget (Clifton Promise), Tim Price (Wesko) Lucy Jackson (Willy Do), Mark Todd Leonidas II).

TOP FIVE RESULTS (team)

1 Germany - 177.9

2 Great Britain - 198.8

3 Netherlands - 246.8

4 France - 251.5

5 Australia - 262.8

Also 15 New Zealand 2064.5

- Stuff

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