An Australasian record prize pool for a dressage competition is up for grabs at the 2008 Kelt Capital and is likely to be contested by a record number of Grand Prix combinations at a New Zealand event.

Thanks to principle sponsors Hatton Estate , the official wine sponsors of the 2008 Horse of the Year Show, an extraordinary $30,000 pool is offered for the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle with $10,000 to the winner.

Arch rivals from the Waikato region, Bill Noble and Jody Hartstone, plan to start two horses each at Grand Prix level. In recent years, the now twenty-one year old German bred stallion, Landioso, (Boo Boo to his friends) ridden by Hartstone has won the Grand Prix technical test but conceded the valuable Freestyle prize to Noble and his NZ station bred Vincent St James, aka “Vinnie”. Bill is enthusiastic about making it four wins on the trot, and Jody excited about the possibility of a fantastic 21st party for Boo Boo !

Kallista Field has returned to the top level this year and can boast three Grand Prix prospects – Soda, Salutation and Waikiwi but under international rules will be restricted to two rides.

Form being shown by newcomers to this level indicate that the experienced combinations will not have it all their own way. Karen Anderson (Whakatane) and Komplete Kaos, whose name is certainly not indicative of his performance, have four wins from as many starts on the regional circuit this season leading the Equine Herbals Leaderboard, and will be chasing hard along with Charlott Bayliss and All Black II from Cambridge.

Olympic year is always a prime focus for equestrian sport and the international CDI*** ranking of the event means that riders can earn MES (Minimum Eligibility Score - 64% from an FE1 “O” Judge) and Dressage Rider World ranking points.

Young Rider competition is particularly strong this year at Prix St Georges level with about twelve under 21’s contesting qualification and a place in the Young Rider World Cup Final in Germany in December 2008.

The Tri Series Derby between Australia, South Africa and New Zealand is an innovation for the dressage section. To be held at Open Medium level, the first leg was contested in South Africa earlier this year. Jody Hartstone won the leading rider prize so New Zealand will be looking to keep this record intact.

International Judges confirmed to date are Cara Witham (Canada) and Susie Hoevenaars (Australia). Cathay Pacific continue to be great supporters of this event and are making it possible to bring top international officials to complete the objective of a offering NZ riders a truly European style event on their home terrain.

So to see the best dressage action with Freestyle to Music in the main oval every day from 5th – 9th March, the best horses and riders from throughout the country all vying for a coveted Horse of the Year title and a place on the Zilco Freestyle Leaderboards, make your way to the Kelt Capital 2008.