Australian jumpers chasing top prize

Australian show jumper Alison Rowlands and ''prom queen'' Brickley Brook Bella began preparations...
Australian show jumper Alison Rowlands and ''prom queen'' Brickley Brook Bella began preparations in Mosgiel yesterday for Ride the Rhythm in Dunedin. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Australian equestrian team set up in Mosgiel yesterday to prepare for a share of the prizes at Ride the Rhythm in Dunedin.

Show jumper Alison Rowlands (52), of Perth, said the dozen Australian riders and their team of 18 horses were basing themselves at the Otago Equestrian Centre in Mosgiel as they prepared for Ride the Rhythm in Dunedin on Friday.

She would ride 10-year-old mare Brickley Brook Bella and 9-year-old mare Brickley Brook Bianca at the event, she said.

''Bella is like the prom queen, the Miss Goody Two-Shoes, and the other one [Bianca] is the one selling the drugs on the street corner. They are totally different.

''She [Bianca] likes to do things her way. You can be walking along and next minute she goes `No, I don't want to be here' and she's over there and has left you lying on the ground.''

Her team of five riders and eight horses were beginning a world tour and could meet their 30-day quarantine requirements in New Zealand before travelling to Europe, she said.

The transportation costs to get the two horses one way across the Tasman were about $13,500, so she was hoping to win the $50,000 prize at the Grand Prix at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

''I have a pretty good chance.''

However, she would not class the Australians as hot favourites, she said.

''[New Zealand show jumper] Maurice Beatson is always hard to beat and Katie McVean is hard to beat.

''It won't be easy to win.''

She qualified for the 2013 World Cup in Sweden but because it was Bella's first year of grand prix, they had not entered and were focusing on qualifying for the World Equestrian Games in France next year, she said.

During their time in New Zealand they would compete in the New Zealand National Championships in Christchurch and the Horse of the Year in Hastings.

Ride the Rhythm promoter Kevin Hansen said tickets were ''rocketing out the door'' yesterday, and about 7000 had been sold.

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