Wellington, Florida – August 2, 2006 – The Australian show jumping selectors have named a squad of six riders from which four will finally be selected for the World Equestrian Games in Aachen. Two of those named, Edwina Alexander and Rod Brown, are definite selections to the team, whereas Peter McMahon (Queensland), David Robertson (New South Wales), Jamie Kermond (Victoria) and James Patterson-Robertson (based in Europe) will compete in a series of trials in Europe prior to the Games, for selection to the remaining two team places.
The outstanding selection, Edwina Alexander from Sydney, age 32, who holds a Bachelor of Physical Education, had reasonable success in Australia before deciding to head for Europe to gain further experience, saying, “I left Australia seven years ago to compete in Europe with the idea of fulfilling my dreams, never imaging they would come true. I set myself high standards and having a strong belief in myself and my horses, I have been able to find my way and compete against the best.” Edwina, who trained for three years with Ludo Philippaerts, now rides for the Jan Tops stable, and has been qualified two horses for WEG: Isovlas Socrates and Isovlas Pialotta, with the latter most likely to be her mount. The bay mare is by Westphalian stallion Pilot, out of Akazic. Edwina has had great success over the last couple of seasons and is now rated 47th in the world rankings, with recent good performances in Monaco providing a good indication of form going into WEG.
Rod Brown, age 58, has been a very consistent rider for a number of years, previously representing his country at the 1998 Olympic Games in Seoul. He then spent a number of years training young horses for sale, but was offered the ride on Mr Burns in 2005. After a 10-year absence from World Cups and Grand Prix competitions, Rod made a successful return, winning the 2006 Australian Championship held at Sale, Victoria. His ride, Mr Burns is a brown thoroughbred gelding by Favoured Bay, from the mare Big Giggle, foaled in December 1990. Mr. Burns had a very ordinary career as a racehorse and was retired early, despite winning a maiden race at a country meet and running a track record for the distance, which still stands today … It seems a mob of kangaroos found their way onto the track, Mr Burns bolted to the outside rail and left the rest of the field well behind him! His owners, Greg and Cathie Chapman, purchased the horse after Greg, who has a livestock transport business, was delivering stock to an abbatoir. Greg spotted the horse, liked his breeding and decided to purchase him. The owner of the abbatoir was a Mr. Burns, hence the horse’s name. This season, he has won five of the six selection competitions and finished second in the remaining trial.
David Robertson is a farmer from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Aged 54, David was listed for the three-day-event at the Montreal Olympic Games, but his mount unfortunately died before the event. David later retired to concentrate on family and business, but made a comeback in 1985 representing Australia on a tour of New Zealand with a mare called Dusky Dawn. The mare was sold in 1987 so David decided to concentrate on breeding show jumpers. He had connections in New Zealand to a mare called Ships Lady who produced four brothers by British stallion Imperial Seal. All four turned out to be reasonable jumpers. Two of these horses, Special Seal and Smart Seal sold to Japan, Super Seal has been sold to Ireland, while Sharp Seal, a 10-year-old gelding, is David’s own-bred mount for WEG. This combination has had two very good seasons, winning a World Cup qualifier, second in the Australian Championship, and also second in the first three of the six selection competitions.
Youngest member of the squad, 21-year-old Jamie Kermond from Warrnambool, Western Victoria, will ride the 13-year-old thoroughbred gelding Stylish King, bred in New Zealand. Stylish King was a fairly expensive yearling who proved unsuccessful on the racetrack. He did show some jumping form by winning a 3,000-metre hurdle race, but an injury saw him retired and subsequently purchased by the Kermond family. After a couple of seasons in lower-grade jumping, the pair was successful in 2004, winning two World Cup qualifiers. A skiing accident in early 2005 left Jamie with a broken arm, which kept him out of the saddle for some months, but after his return he had a number of successes in 2006, finishing third in the Australian Championship and placing well in the selection series. Jamie explained, “I have had a number of offers to buy the horse, but I am in the sport to try and find one like Stylish King, and did not wish to sell him. He has opened up a lot of opportunities for me.” He continued, “I had a trip to New Zealand on borrowed horses and it gave me the chance to ride with and compete against experienced riders and that is pretty special.” Adding, “You can’t buy experience like that.”
Fifth member of the Australian squad is 25-year-old Peter McMahon from Brisbane, Queensland and his nine-year-old grey gelding KC Genoe. This combination has had a very successful season and demonstrated significant potential in the selection trials.
Finally, 27-year-old European-based James Patterson-Robinson, originally from Geelong, Victoria, has been competing in Europe for the past seven years with a great deal of success, particularly with young six- and seven-year-old horses. James has qualified with Splendid van de Heffinck.
The Australian showjumping team will be finalised after the CSI*** Balve competition on August 6.
The Equestrian Federation of Australia Dressage selectors have named the following combinations to travel to Europe to participate in a training camp in Germany, prior to team selection August 15:
Heath Ryan/Greenoaks Dundee
Rachael Sanna/Chatham Park Jac
They will be joined at camp by the following European-based riders:
Kristy Oatley/Quando-Quando and Don Belero.
The selectors have named the following Australian-based riders to also travel to Germany for a WEG preparation camp prior to final naming of the team in late August:
Megan Jones/Kirby Park Irish Jester
Sonja Johnson/Ringwould Jaguar
Rebel Morrow/Oaklea Groover
Janelle Pitts/Mr. Showoff
Shane Rose/All Luck
Wendy Schaeffer/Koyuna Sun Magic
The overseas-based combinations also attending the camp are:
Clayton Fredericks/Ben Along Time
Lucinda Fredericks Headley/Britannia
Together with long-time Australian representatives:
Andrew Hoy (horses TBA) and
Matt Ryan/Bonza Puzzle
Naturally, Andrew Hoy will start as one of the favourites for the individual gold medal given his winning form at major events (Lexington and Badminton) since the start of this season.
Australia is sending perhaps its strongest ever endurance team to compete at WEG. Recently announced, it includes Australia’s best performance combinations, with a history of world-class results, and will indeed present a powerful force. The Australian Endurance Riders Association is probably the best organized of all of the disciplines that will represent Australia at the Games. The riders are very well trained and have a great back-up team of officials headed by Chef d’Equipe, Dr. Patricia McKay-Annetts and team veterinarian Dr. Ann Barnes, plus a number of experienced assistants and managers. The named horses and riders are:
Meg Wade/China Doll
Penny Toft/Bremervale Justice
Peter Toft/Electra BBP Murdock
Brooke Sample/La Mancha Archduke
Jennifer Gilbertson/Bramall Jazzmin
Donna Wiesman/Hirstglen Fargo
The selectors have also included four reserve horses for riders Meg Wade, Penny Toft, and Brooke Sample, plus one owned by Toft Endurance. Two of these horses are already in Europe. Kristie McGaffin has been included as the reserve rider. The final team will be announced shortly before the Games.
Australia will be represented by at least one driver, in Boyd Exell. The 34-year-old four-in-hand driver, originally from Bega, New South Wales, has been based in England for a number of years. Boyd has competed very successfully in Europe in both full competitions and the Driving World Cup series of 2005. Recent success at Royal Windsor Horse Show is a good indication that Boyd and his team will be a formidable combination at WEG. Two other Australian drivers are currently competing in Europe in an attempt to qualify. The Equestrian Federation of Australia is awaiting confirmation of appropriate performances by these two competitors before announcing a full team for the Games. Australia was represented by a carriage driving team comprising Rod Ryan and Mike Thill at the inaugural WEG in Stockholm 1990, but since then has only fielded individual competitors.
This special report is a preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/weg-australian-show-jumping-aachen-8-06.html">The Australian Contingent Prepares for Aachen</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com