18 Jun 2015

NZ equestrians prepare for Luhmühlen

12:46 pm on 18 June 2015

New Zealand's top eventers are preparing for one of the year's elite four star events, the Luhmühlen International Horse Trials in Germany.

Tim Price and Wesko

Tim Price and Wesko Photo: PHOTOSPORT

World number three Jonelle Price and her husband Tim, who won the event last year, lead are joined by Sir Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Blyth Tait, Annabel Wigley and rising stars Lizzie Brown and Jesse Campbell.

Six of the top 10 ranked riders in the world, will contest the top flight German title.

Price is bringing Bango for the nine-year-old chestnut's first four star outing.

He'll be keen to back up his excellent result on Wesko last year, which is the only other time he has competed at the top-flight event.

Jonelle has her 10-year-old grey British-bred mare Faerie Dianimo, who has just one other four star start to her credit, with a fourth at Pau last year.

Nicholson is no stranger to victory at Luhmühlen, having won the title in 2013 aboard Mr Cruise Control, but this time he's riding Qwanza.

Tait is having his first shot at Luhmühlen aboard Xanthus III, while Todd is looking to bring his London Olympic horse NZB Campino back into top competition after a break with injury.

Olympian and World Champ Tait, who is making a concerted push for selection for the 2016 Rio Games, last competed at four star level in 2011.

Wigley will ride Frog Rock. The combination has had four star starts at Luhmühlen, Pau and Badminton and will be keen to post a solid result.

Having their first-ever four star starts this week are Brown and Campbell.

Brown and Henton Attorney General have been very consistent in their last four starts with three wins and a second at two and three star level, while Campbell will be eager to get Kaapachino out on a four star course after disappointingly having to withdraw from Badminton.

Selectors will undoubtedly be watching closely, with the high performance squads to be renamed at the end of June.