Australia’s Lineup of Team Prospects for Tokyo Deeper, Stronger than Any Previous Olympics

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Simone Pearce on Amandori at Ornago, Italy. © 2021 Valentina Bernasconi

May 11, 2021

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Australia is heading to the Olympics less than 11 weeks away with eight rider and horse combinations already fulfilling requirements for selection, a lineup that is deeper and stronger than any of the previous Games in which the nation has competed a team beginning with Sydney in 2000.

Three riders based in Germany, one in the United States and two in Australia–along with eight horses between them–have fulfilled qualifying requirements of two Grand Prix scores of at least 69% from Jan. 1, 2019 to June 21, 2021, one of the two to have been earned in 2020 or 2021 to be considered for a team of three and a possible reserve. Four of the riders have experience of multiple Olympics in the five Games that have been held this century.

Leading the group is Simone Pearce with two horses already meeting requirements–Destano that set new Australian Grand Prix and Special scoring records within the past year; Amandori that last week in Italy added the second of two required Grand Prix results and Double Joy that turned in a qualifying score on the horse’s first outing at the same event. With only six weeks for the deadline to achieve results for consideration, the 29-year-old Simone based in Germany has as many as four more competitions that she could realistically pursue another score for Double Joy to give her three prospects for what would be her first senior Olympics or championships.

Mary Hanna, who at the age of 66 is seeking to compete in her sixth Olympics, has two horses, Calanta and Syriana, that have met selection requirements despite the fact Australia has not held a CDI since February, 2020 because of Covid-19 restrictions. The only event scheduled before the deadline, a CDI3* at Boneo May 28-30, is still not approved, primarily due to lengthy mandatory quarantine that has created difficulties in recruiting foreign judges.

Kristy Oatley has long been a top competitor from her home in Germany and has gone to four Olympics for Australia. She competed Du Soleil at the 2016 Games and has earned qualifying results to be considered for Tokyo, with three scores from 2019 and two so far this year, including Verden, Germany last week.

Lyndal Oatley, also based in Germany who competed Sandro Boy at the London Olympics in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, qualified Eros with a second Grand Prix result in Hungary last week. She also debuted Elvive to achieve the highest Grand Prix score of any Australian combination this year and also has as many as four shows in Europe that she could seek a second score by the deadline.

Kelly Layne, based in Wellington, Florida, has ridden Samhitas into contention with three qualifying scores above 70% this year.

Lone Jorgensen, the two-time Danish Olympian who now lives Down Under and rides for Australia, is the only Australian-based rider other than Mary Hanna, to have achieved two qualifying scores which she did on Corinna, one in 2019 and one in 2020.

The format for Tokyo is for a team of three riders and horses with no drop score.

As many as 15 teams will compete in the Grand Prix, with the top eight advancing to the Grand Prix Special to Music that will decide team medals.

Australia’s first team in an Olympics was at Sydney in 2000. Aussie teams competed at Hong Kong in 2008, London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Kristy Oatley competed at all four, Mary Hanna at three and Lyndal at two.

Details of the current team contenders in no particular order:

Simone Pearce, 29, lives in Germany, and Destano, 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion, owned by Gestüt Sprehe GmbH & Simone
Qualifying Grand Prix results:
Ornago, Italy May 7, 2021–72.348%
Salzburg, Austria Jan. 23, 2021–72.043%
Brno, Czech Republic Aug. 28, 2020–76.261% (Australian record)
Achleiten, Austria July 24, 2020–74.152%
Mariakalnok, Hungary June 26, 2020–71.239%

Simone Pearce and Amandori, 10-year-old German Sport Horse stallion, owned by Gestüt Sprehe GmbH & Simone
Ornago, Italy May 7, 2021–72.956%
Le Mans, France Feb. 12, 2021–71.022%

Mary Hanna, 66, lives in Australia, and Calanta, 14-year-old KWPN mare, owned by Mary & Rob Hanna
Bawley Point, Australia Feb. 27, 2020–72.761%
Bawley Point, Australia Feb. 20, 2020–70.696%
Boneo, Australia Jan.24, 2020–69.739%

Mary Hanna and Syriana, 15-year-old Westfalen mare, owned by Mary & Rob Hanna
Bawley Point, Australia Feb. 22, 2020–70.065%
Boneo, Australia Jan. 24, 2020–70.717%

Kristy Oatley, 42, lives in Germany, and Du Soleil, 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Rosalind & Robert Oatley
Verden Germany May 8, 2021–71.565%
Zakrzow, Poland April 23, 2020–72.174%
Stuttgart, Germany Nov. 15, 2019–71.261%
Budapest, Hungary May 3, 2019–73.913%

Kelly Layne, 45, lives in United States, and Samhitas, 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, owned by Kelly & Nori Maezawa
Tryon, USA April 23, 2021–70.130%
Wellington, USA April 2, 2021–71.326%
Wellington, USA Feb. 25, 2021–71.935%

Lyndal Oatley, 40, lives in Germany, and Eros, 12-year-old KWPN gelding, owned by Carol & Andrew Oatley
Mariakalnok, Hungary May 7, 2021–69.413%
Aarhus, Denmark Oct. 17, 2020–70.957%

Lone Jörgensen, 59, Lives in Australia, and Corinna, 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, owned by Pauline Carnovale
Boneo, Australia Jan. 24, 2020–70.109%
Sydney, Australia Oct. 18, 2019–69.348%