|Joe Meyer on Clifton Lush leading Kiwi at Badminton|
|Published on 30 April, 2010||Email To Friend Print Version
After the first day of dressage, with 41 of the 83 combinations having completed their dressage tests, Joe Meyer, riding Frances Stead's and Lucy Allison’s Clifton Lush is in 13th place at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials in England.
Joe and Clifton Lush, a ten-year-old 16.0hh chestnut TB gelding by Half Iced out of All For Love, is the top-placed Kiwi combination, achieving a score of 49.5 penalties in the blustery conditions.
Speaking from the riders' cocktail party later in the day, Meyer said the result was "fantastic".
"I was hoping to be in the 40's, that was my goal, although you sometimes don't get that at Badminton," added Meyer.
"I'm feeling really happy that I did achieve that, even though we had a little mistake in the transition from the walk to the canter, without which we would probably have been comfortably in the 40's. Clifton Lush is only a ten-year-old horse and for his experience he went fantastically, like a proper grown-up horse."
This is Clifton Lush's first Badminton, but he was 12th at Pau, the French four-star last year, second at Blair CIC*** and 10th at Bramham CCI***, so he's got a good record.
Born and bred in the Wairarapa, Joe grew up at his parent’s successful Mamaku Stud, home of the stallion Tara Mink whose most well-known offspring was Charisma, Mark Todd’s famous partner with who he won two Olympic gold medals (’84 & ’88) and was second at Badminton in ’84 & ’85. Joe moved to the UK in 1996 and has had Clifton Lush since February 2007 at his Surrey base.
The current leader is British rider Ruth Edge on Two Thyme, with a score of 39.0. Second placed Kiwi Andrew Nicholson, who has contested Badminton a record 26 times without recording a win, was slightly off the pace in 16th place on Nereo with 51.0 penalties.
"I could have ridden bits of the test a lot better," said Wiltshire-based Nicholson. "I probably put more pressure on myself here than anything from outside. I expect to do well."
Mark Todd, in his first Badminton for ten years, rode Grass Valley into 23rd place with 55.8 penalties. Todd is a past triple winner at Badminton (1980, 1994 and 1996). The first combination of the day to go in the dressage, Daniel Jocelyn and Special Attorney, are currently 26th on 57.5 penalties.
Speaking from the huge shopping village at Badminton, part owner of Clifton Lush, Frances Stead, said “Overall Lush did a a really nice test with just a couple of mistakes, but I’m quite happy with where he’s at right now.”
Stead also was very appreciative of the organisers who had managed to put all the Kiwis together in one old-fashioned stable block.
This year sees a record number of New Zealand entries for the prestigious three-day event, with 12 horses among an 85-strong field. competing to win the classic event, which has a first place prize of £65,000.
Combinations to do their dressage tomorrow are: Bruce Haskell on Kiwi Smog, Annabel Wigley on Black Drum, Neil Spratt on Upleadon, Caroline Powell on her veteran horse Lenamore, with second rides by Joe Meyer on Snip and Andrew Nicholson on Avebury.
At yesterday’s First Vet Inspection Clifton Lush was one of three horses placed in the holding box after their initial presentation, but all were accepted by the Ground Jury on subsequent presentation.
Badminton is one of only six annual Concours Complet International (CCI) Four Star **** events, the highest level of eventing competition, as classified by the FEI. It takes place in the park of Badminton House, the seat of the Dukes of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, England.