Andrew Hoy heads Australia’s new elite eventing team, which will represent the country at international competitions during the next six months, with his three top horses: Master Monarch, his Burghley mount, Moonfleet, and his Olympic mount, Mr Pracatan.
“To be selected on the elite list the horse and rider combination must meet strict selection criteria,” explains EFA Sport Consultant, Niki Chapman. “Andrew Hoy had outstanding results on three horses during 2004 and met the criteria on all three horses, and, as a result, has been elite listed on the three horses.”
A number of experienced combinations will take their place alongside Hoy. Olympic pair Rebel Morrow and Oaklea Groover — who were the highest placed Australian riders in Athens — remain on the team, as do Olympic reserves Matt Ryan with Bonza Puzzle and Sammi McLeod with Enchanted.
But the eventing squad also sees a number of new combinations. Bill Levett and Minuto join the team for the first time after finishing within the top 10 at Burghley. A placing at the FEI Eventing World Cup Final in Pau last year earned a place in the elite team for both Clayton Fredericks with Ben Along Time and Sonja Johnson with Ringwould Jaguar. And Olympian Philip Dutton can now count on a second horse, The Foreman, as well as his Athens mount, Nova Top.
The elite team will concentrate on upcoming competitions, such as the Trans-Tasman challenge, which sees Australia pitted against New Zealand at the Adelaide CCI**** in November 2005. However, “the elite-listed riders and horses will also be starting their preparations for the 2006 WEG in Aachen,” Chapman explains. “As January 2005 marks the beginning of the WEG 2006 qualification period, our elite riders and horses will be looking to gain their qualifications making them eligible for selection for the 2006 WEG.”
EFA has also selected the members of the A team, which identifies combinations to watch in the future. Twelve new pairings join the squad, which is for younger up and coming horses.
“The aim of the A squad is to provide a stepping stone into the elite squad and therefore it is not the intention for a horse to remain on the A squad for too long,” Chapman says. “An A squad horse will either progress into the elite squad, or it will be removed from the A squad if the selectors feel that the horse is not progressing towards elite squad status.”
Two riders — Christopher Burton with Newsprint and Lauren Schodel with Smooth Criminal — make their debut on the team, which also lists a number of former elite team competitors riding young horses with international potential. Sydney gold medallist Stuart Tinney is on the team with Vettori and Atlanta gold medallist Wendy Schaeffer has two young horses, Koyuna Sun Magic and Koyuna Sun Smoke.
“The new horses and riders on the A squad have been identified as potential elite squad horses, the horses and riders on the A list are possible team members for the WEG 2006,” says Chapman.
“The future of eventing in Australia is very bright, the number of new combinations on the National Squads indicates the volume of promising horses and riders that are coming through the system.”
Australia’s eventing elite team
Phillip Dutton, Nova Top
Phillip Dutton, The Foreman
Clayton Fredericks, Ben Along Time
Andrew Hoy, Master Monarch
Andrew Hoy, Moonfleet
Andrew Hoy, Mr Pracatan
Sonja Johnson, Ringwould Jaguar
Bill Levett, Minuto
Sammi McLeod, Enchanted
Rebel Morrow, Oaklea Groover
Matt Ryan, Bonza Puzzle