3. Andrew Hoy riding Vassily de Lassos have slipped to No. 3 courtesy of the outstanding performances of Shenae Lowings and Shane Rose. I think that if you were a selector and able to practise subjective evaluation, Andrew would still hold pole position in the Australian rankings. Just keep in mind that the criteria on this ranking exercise is simply personal best CCI4*L scores within the selection period. This system does a great job of creating order from what at first glance is total chaos and riders competing in different countries in competitions at different standards. Once this first process is carefully worked out then selecting the final riders does involve horse soundness, current form, performance consistency, availability of the horse and rider and a whole lot more considerations that are difficult to imagine. The selectors just have to be very methodical and logical and basically subject the selection process to common sense. I think Andrew is still the No. 1 selection even if the maths suggests a little otherwise. At CHIO Aachen just gone, he and Vassily were second in a very classy four-star field.
4. Kevin McNab and Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend have slipped from No. 2 to No. 4 in the rankings. They have a personal best of 30.2 penalties. In my opinion, they are very much on track to be part of the Australian team in Italy in August.
5. Bill Levett riding Sligo Candy Cane have a personal best of 33.7 penalties from Millstreet CCI4*L in Ireland (31 May – 5 June). Sligo Candy Cane is a young horse who is coming up the ranks impressively. Bill Levett himself is very experienced having already been on an Australian team and this is a new, high-quality contender for team selection, which was a little bit unexpected.
6. Kevin McNab and Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam, which is Kevin’s team silver medal Tokyo Olympics horse. Kevin and Don Quidam have a personal best score of 34.3 penalties.
7. Shane Rose on Virgil has slipped from No. 4 to No. 7. They have a personal best of 35.7 penalties. This was their Tokyo Olympic score, which gave the Australian team a silver medal.
Both Shane and Kevin are only allowed to ride one horse at the Championships so both of these second horses will be reserves for them. However, the team will have five riders competing, four in the team and one individual. So, No. 6 and No. 7 are reserves if Kevin’s or Shane’s first rides are unavailable. Just keep in mind, however, that Andrew Hoy and Bill Levett will move up a slot before these reserve horses are put in the team. Also keep in mind that the two above second-string horses for Kevin and Shane are team silver medal-winning horses from Tokyo, so how strong does the Australian team look on paper right this moment! On paper, this team is shaping up to be stronger than any gold medal team we have ever fielded, and goodness knows we have fielded a lot of gold medal teams. Woohoo!
8. Gemma Tinney and Diabolo have a personal best score of 35.9 penalties from MI3DE. This is Gemma’s first CCI4*L performance and in last month’s column she had no ranking in my top 16. Gemma is 25 years of age, so again for me this is a very important development as I said about Shenae earlier in the column. In years gone by this is exactly the age group that produced gold medals for Australia. So, at the moment by my system, I am suggesting Gemma will actually be the first reserve for the World Championships. You can imagine the obvious question will be, does the partnership of Gemma and Diabolo have enough experience? If I was a selector I would be backing her, especially with the thought that the World Championships are also a lead-up to the Paris 2024 Olympics. Big, big picture is always the Olympics and a run in Italy could be the icing on the cake in preparation for a Paris gold medal.
9. Bill Levett and Lates Quin have a personal best score of 36.2 penalties, which they achieved at the Millstreet CCI4*L in 2021. This is Bill’s second horse to be ranked and will be a reserve for Bill.
10. Kenya Wilson and Sandros Salute MW have a personal best score of 36.4 penalties in the CCI4*L at MI3DE. In my opinion, Kenya was actually really hard done by not being included by the Australian Selectors in the Oceania Team, which was also conducted at MI3DE. The selectors did elect to select riders who did not have CCI4*L qualifications. The riders had CCI4*S qualifications, and I made the point at the time that the real deal is the long format and this should never be underestimated. Kenya had a very respectable score of 47.4 penalties at a CCI4*L earlier this year. Kenya’s MI3DE score of 36.4 penalties was the fourth highest Australian score in the class and would have made a very healthy contribution to the top Australian team. How did she get overlooked for the Oceania Championships? Anyway, she has made her point now and has to have firmed up her position to be included in the 15 horse and athlete combinations going forward to the FEI on 10 August for the World Championships.
11. Jessica Rae riding Fifth Avenue have a personal best score of 38.8 penalties in the CCI4*L at MI3DE. Jessica and Fifth Avenue were part of the Australian Senior Green winning team in the Oceania Championships.