Prices in form for Olympic effort

New Zealand eventer Jonelle Price and Grovine De Reve compete in the Kentucky three-day event in...
New Zealand eventer Jonelle Price and Grovine De Reve compete in the Kentucky three-day event in April. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Tim and Jonelle Price spearhead the New Zealand eventing team for the Tokyo Olympics.

The couple, who sit at No 2 and No 7 respectively on the world rankings, will be joined by Games debutant Jesse Campbell. New Zealand-based Bundy Philpott is the travelling reserve rider.

The Prices enter the Olympics in solid form. The pair have, between them, been on the podiums of the northern hemisphere’s top five-star events, including Badminton, Burghley, Kentucky, Pau and Luhmuhlen. It is their second consecutive Olympic Games together.

Meanwhile, Campbell, who grew up being inspired by New Zealand’s eventing superstars, said it had been a lifetime goal to go to the Olympics.

“The New Zealand eventing team has an incredible legacy and it is really exciting to be adding my own chapter to it,” he said.

Jonelle Price was the reserve for Athens (2004) and rode at London (2012), where the New Zealand team won bronze.

She and Tim were on the team for Rio (2016) — the first time a couple represented New Zealand in eventing at the Olympic Games.

She is excited to be named aboard Grovine de Reve, a horse who has continued to impress.

“Grovine de Reve has gone from strength to strength in the time we have had him,” she said.

“It doesn’t always work out that you have a horse whose age and stage truly aligns with a championship, but I really believe it does for this guy. The postponement probably worked in his favour.”

Tim Price is “thrilled” to be included in the team and also feels his mount is in good form.

“Vitali is just the right sort of horse for this kind of competition — athletic, fast and honest,’’ Tim said.

Paget, the New Zealand equestrian high performance general manager and a team bronze medallist from the London Olympics, said all riders, grooms and owners deserved to be congratulated.

“It is a massive team effort and there are so many critical pieces of the puzzle that have to come together at the highest standard to achieve this,” Paget said.

“It is great to see Tim and Jonelle in the team and exciting to see some well-deserved new faces in the line-up which shows strength in the programme and signs of growing depth.’’

New Zealand will also be represented by an already announced showjumping team at Tokyo.

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