Mark Todd reckons the strength of the New Zealand eventing team for the Rio Olympics is it has no weaknesses.

And if that sounds odd think of it this way; some New Zealand teams have gone to major events with, as the champion Todd put it "two or three strong members and one or two not so strong".

"We're a very even lot, all have horses who have performed well at four star level and all have been in good form for the last six months. That's the strength we have."

Todd, at 60 preparing for his eighth Games - he's been selected for nine but didn't take part in the Moscow Games of 1980 - knows winning another medal to go with his two gold and three bronze won't be a canter in the park in Rio.


"We're under no illusions the level of competition will be very strong. We will have to be on our A game, but we're going there with really good competitors and that's important," he said.

Jock Paget and Jonelle Price are proven top class operators, while Clarke Johnstone is the good news story of the selection.

Having won the 2011 World Cup eventing series, he seemed a strong chance for the London Games the following year. However his horses fell to injury and he was ruled out.
Time was on his side - he's 28 - and now he's back with his impressive, striking white horse, Balmoral Sensation, and relishing the prospect of his Olympic debut.

"Missing out in London was very disappointing. I had worked really hard, but these things happen in sports," he said.

"Fortunately it's a sport with a lot of longevity and I certainly didn't think it was all over after London.

"It was a matter of regrouping, trying again and making sure I got myself in a position where I couldn't miss out.

"So far it's going well with a month to go."

Johnstone is also an example of timing making a big difference.

He brought Balmoral Sensation across from New Zealand a couple of months ago specifically for the prestigious Badminton event. He needed a strong performance.
The pair finished fifth at just the time the eventing selectors wanted to see compelling form.

Tim Price, Jonelle's wife, is the travelling reserve, his best chance, Wesko having been ruled out several weeks ago. Jock Paget, Todd and Jonelle Price were in the bronze medal-winning team from London in 2012.