Tim Price and five-star debutant Falco topped the Pau Horse Trials results with a wow-factor showjumping performance to seal victory in the French CCI5*.
Pau proved a red letter day for the Price family, with Jonelle Price joining her husband on the podium in third aboard the pint-sized McClaren.
Former winner Tom McEwen, victorious in 2019, soared up the leaderboard with Vicky Bates and David Myers’ exciting prospect CHF Cooliser, rising 18 places after dressage to fill the runner-up spot on their dressage score of 29.6.
This is Tim’s first Pau title and the second time in the event’s 15-year history that a Kiwi has taken the crown. Andrew Nicholson and the great Nereo were the first combination to scoop victory at the event in 2012.
“He’s a great little horse, isn’t he?” said Tim. “You never expect that on a first time coming to this level, but he is a class horse. He always has been, even when he’s been learning his craft. But he has come here very well prepared and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way he has delivered through the three phases. What an exciting horse he is for me and for the future.”
Reflecting on how he felt going into his round, given how many problems the course was causing, he added: “You’re nervous for many reasons. It’s high pressure. You try not to think about all the things that could go wrong and I knew I was on a very good jumper, so yes there had been quite a lot of problems, but I felt if anyone was going to do a good job of it, it would be this horse. It was just my [place] to do an ok job on top.
“[Pau] is a really tough place to do well in, I find. Even though there’s the other big five-stars in the world, this one is very difficult and the winner can come from anywhere, which it did today I suppose.
“It’s just a thrill to win anything at this level and a great way to think about things over the winter having a win at the end [of the season].”
Pau is the second “double Price” five-star podium this year, both times aboard different horses. The eventing power couple were second and third, in the same order, at Kentucky in May aboard Xavier Faer and Grovine De Reve respectively.
Tim added it was “so special” to be on the podium with Jonelle and to have their children there with them.
“It couldn’t be a better end to the season,” he said, adding the win is as much for his country and family back at home as it is for him.
“It’s an honour to represent New Zealand – we do pretty well for a little country – and it makes us very proud.”
Jonelle and the 14-year-old gelding, owned by David and Katherine Thomson, delivered confident jumping rounds across country and over the coloured poles to add only time-penalties to their dressage score. Their final total of 29.6 is the same finishing score as Tom, who edged ahead as he was closer to the cross-country optimum time.
Yann Royant’s showjumping course took no prisoners and only five of the 35 starters – including four Brits – completed the final phase with no extra penalties to add.
The last fence – a teetering upright with the finishing line tantalisingly in sight – was the bête noire for Australia’s Kevin McNab and Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend, dropping the pair from third to fourth.
Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy and the 12-year-old Fidertanz mare Fallulah had one rail in hand to hold their second place position when they entered the arena, which they used at the first part of the double at 5a. Sadly it was not to be for the pair, who tipped three more fences and added 0.8 of a time-penalty to their scoresheet to finish 17th.
This meant Tim and Falco, owned by London 2012 cross-country course designer Sue Benson, had a fence to play with. The 11-year-old Cardenio 2 son gave each jump feet to spare, prompting gasps from the crowd. Any fears that so much time in the air could catch them on time were unfounded as the pair could well afford the 0.4 of a time-penalty they added to their final tally, giving them a finishing score of 22.5.
Maxime Livio and Vitorio Du Montet were the highest-placed combination for the home side. The pair’s two fault-free jumping rounds propelled them from 24th after dressage to fifth on their dressage score of 30.6.
Sixth place went to Oliver Townend and Ridire Dorcha, owned by Sophie Adams, who produced one of the few zero score showjumping rounds of the afternoon (32.2). Tom Jackson and Billy Cuckoo’s showjumping clear was also rewarded with a hike up the leaderboard to finish seventh (33.3).
Eighth place went to Selena Milnes and Iron, her best result at this level, on 35.3.
The French combinations of Cedric Lyard (Unum De’Or) and Sidney Dufresne (Swing De Perdriat) completed the top 10 in ninth and 10th respectively.
The highest-placed British debutante was Kylie Roddy with SRS Kan Do in 11th on 36.3.
View the Pau Horse Trials results
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