Tim Price & Ascona keep Luhmuhlen's top honours in the family
New Zealand's Tim Price - recently named world's No. 1 eventer - has added another top trophy to the cabinet - this time taking out the Longines CCI5*-L at the Luhmuhlen Horse Trials in Germany (June 16).
It was a family perfect victory as he successfully defended the title won by his wife Jonelle last year - another trophy for the Price's Marlborough home.
Tim and his eleven year-old grey mare Ascona M - stable name Ava - picked up time penalties in the showjumping, but still finished 2.1 penalty points ahead of runner-up Great Britain's Tom McEwen and Figaro van het Broekxhof.
It was a special victory for Tim, who won his first CCI5*-L competition at Luhmuhlen in 2014: “I am delighted with my mare - she was super. I’m so happy that things went so well again this year. It makes me really proud that Ascona has performed so consistently in all three phases."
"She does have a bit of an unconventional jumping technique, but that’s because she always tries so hard to do everything right.”
With riders jumping in reverse order, it was an agonising time as he waited to enter the showjumping arena: “It was that usual feeling of a tense stomach you get when you are in that position and have a bit of time to kill and things to do in order to get to your showjumping.”
Once in the ring, everything flowed: “You just go into methodical mode. She warmed up really well, with plenty of juice in the tank and then she went in and just jumped super. I knew at that stage I had a bit of time up my sleeve so I decided to take a bit of time but jump a clear round and that is exactly what happened. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
He and Ascona M - owned Suzanne Houchin, Lucy & Ben Sangster and Sir Peter Vela - were second after the dressage, but took the lead following a tough cross country run, to finish the event on 31.4 penalty points. Just 22 of the original 33 starters completed all three phases.
Ascona M was initially Jonelle’s ride before moving to Tim in 2017. They had an ideal lead into Luhmuhlen, winning the CCI4*-S at Tattersalls, but this was their first tilt at a CCI5*-L – the highest ranked competition in eventing and one of just six competitions at this level in the world.
Earlier this month the Rio Olympian was crowned the new world No.1 and last year won the Burghley (CCI5*-L) Horse Trials - the start of a points total that would place Tim top of the world rankings. Tim has ridden for New Zealand at two World Equestrian Games.