Eventer Mark Todd (pictured) has passed the first major hurdle in his attempt to qualify for this summer’s Hong Kong Olympics.

The 51-year-old New Zealander — who retired from eventing eight years ago but announced a comeback last month — needed two qualifying results in the advanced class at the Hawke’s Bay event at Arran Station on Sunday (24 February) to qualify for the Puhinui International Horse Trials (14-17 March).

Mark had two cross-country refusals on his first ride, Judge’s Decision, but won the class on Tom Collins and finished third on his Olympic hope Gandalf.

Reports in the New Zealand press say Mark seemed a little rusty on his first ride, but that by the time he rode Gandalf the old magic looked to be returning.