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Like mother, like daughter

Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding clear a fence on the Badminton cross-country course. PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES

Amanda Pottinger picked for Rome world champs
NZ to send strong team to Rome

EQUESTRIAN

FLASHBACK: Tinks Pottinger competing in the Puhinui three-day event in 1997.

Amanda Pottinger will follow in her mother’s footsteps and represent New Zealand at the world eventing championships.

The former St Matthew’s Collegiate student was named on Wednesday in the five-strong team to contest the championships in Italy next month.

World-ranked Tim and Jonelle Price spearhead the New Zealand team.

The world number two and fifth-ranked eventers are joined by Olympian and former world champs representative Clarke Johnstone, and debutants Monica Spencer and Amanda Pottinger.

Amanda, 30, earned selection after some encouraging form in her first Badminton horse trials in May and the test event at the world championship venue at Pratoni del Vivaro, south of Rome.

She finished the gruelling three-day Badminton event on her world championship mount, Just Kidding, in 35th place after being eighth in the dressage phase [the only Kiwi to make the top 10].

She followed that with a 17th place in the world test event aboard her second mount, Good Timing.

Tinks Pottinger. PHOTO/FILE

Amanda’s mother, 1988 Olympic bronze medallist Tinks, said Amanda was blown away to be selected for her first world championships after a disruptive past three months since Badminton, which had Just Kidding withdrawn from an event in Germany because of an infected cut, and from a competition in France after the horse contracted a virus.

“She had such a good run at the beginning of the year with Badminton and Pratoni where the worlds are with her other horse, and she has just proven to the selectors that as a rider she’s really up there,” Tinks said.

“She’s worked extremely hard and it’s not easy over there, it’s expensive, but she’s stuck at it as these top athletes do.

“It’s just the cost for these kids trying to keep campaigns financed, and it’s really hard for them to make ends meet, and she works really hard and tries to pick up work wherever she can, so it’s justification for all the ups and downs that go with top level sport.”

With only three weeks until the world championships, Tinks said that Amanda will run Just Kidding at an event in England on Monday in their final preparation before heading to Italy.

Unlike the Olympics, where three-person teams compete, the world championship teams comprise four riders, with the top three scores counting. The team will also contest the individual title, along with the fifth rider.

Tinks said the fifth rider is likely to be either Amanda or Spencer.

Kiwi world No 2 Tim Price competing atop Bango in the Kentucky three-day event last year.

“We won’t know until we get there who the individual will be. We’re just thrilled she’s made that final five – it’s a pretty big achievement in itself.”

She is also confident there’s enough experience in the team to produce a good result.

“Cross our fingers that they can perform because there’s two of them doing their first worlds, but they have the experience of Tim and Janelle, and Clarke, who have been there and done all that.

“Hopefully, they can give the younger ones a helping hand,” she said.

Equestrian Sports NZ high performance general manager Jock Paget is also buoyant about the team’s prospects as part of their build-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s encouraging to have the combination of championship debutants and experienced campaigners such as Tim, Jonelle, and Clarke in the team,” Paget said.

“This is our qualifying opportunity for Paris, and we are hopeful of contesting the medals.

Jonelle Price … ranked fifth in the world.

“We’ve had a good build-up in terms of training and have invested into more team competition this year – hopefully, this pays dividends on the day.”

New Zealand has twice won team gold at the world championships – in Stockholm in 1990 and in Rome in 1998.

The last time the team were on the podium was 2010 in Kentucky when Andrew Nicholson, Sir Mark Todd, Caroline Powell, and Johnstone won bronze.

Nicholson and Nereo also won an individual bronze that year.

Individually, golds have been won by Tait and Messiah in 1998, Vaughn Jefferis and Bounce in 1994, and Blyth and Ready Teddy in 1998, the same year that Todd and Broadcast News won silver.

Tinks hopes that Amanda has better fortune than she experienced at the 1986 world championships in Gawler, South Australia, when she had a clear lead after the cross-country only for her mount Volunteer to be cruelly vetted out of contesting the final showjumping phase.

However, getting to Italy to support Amanda is proving a real obstacle for Tinks, who is frantically trying to obtain air tickets for her and husband Andy to travel to the championships.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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