Clarke Johnstone’s preparation for this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Australian International Three Day Event could not have gone better as he took home victory at Arran Station Horse Trials over the weekend.
Riding Balmoral Sensation, the pair romped to victory in the Red Snap’r CIC3* by a country mile, winning my 20 penalties.
Clarke, who won the class in 2015 before heading to the UK in preparation for the Rio Olympics, said: “It was the perfect final run before we go to Adelaide.”
The pairing placed third at Adelaide in 2015 before going to England, where they were fifth at Badminton and subsequently named in the New Zealand Olympic team. He will be hoping to win at Adelaide this time.
Abby Lawrence was thrilled to take second place with Charlton Yamani, having his first 3* start, improving from sixth after the dressage and holding that place overnight despite a show jumping rail down and 3 time penalties. They added 17.2 cross-country time penalties for a final score of 77.4 penalties.
Samantha Felton, third on Ricker Ridge Rui, added 12 cross-country and five show umping time penalties to their ninth placed dressage score to finish on 80.9 penalties, while Virginia Thompson, fourth on Adelaide bound Star Nouveau, incurred 12.4 cross-country time penalties, and had two show jumping rails down plus a time penalty to add to their eighth placed dressage penalties for a final score of 84.3.
Chris Ross’s cross-country course caused plenty of problems, with only five of the thirteen starters completing clear rounds, and none of them inside the time. There were ten completions, with two electing to retire, and one eliminated for a fall.
The outstanding win puts Clarke and ‘Ritchie’ at the top of the ESNZ Eventing Super League, with the winner of the first leg, Donna Edwards-Smith on DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, not competing.
Felton had a good weekend, as she won the Oaklane Stables CIC2* class with Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, her Oceania team horse having an easy run before also going to Adelaide. She led from start to finish, adding 7.2 time penalties to her dressage score of 41.3 penalties for a final score of 48.5.
Larissa Srhoy on Rockquest and Lydia Truesdale on Allander Rocket finished second and third, making their long trip worthwhile. They improved from twelfth and seventeenth respectively after the dressage with two of the fastest cross-country rounds, incurring 4.4 and 3.6 time penalties for final scores of 60.6 and 62.7 penalties.
Blyth Tait was second overnight on his former international horse Xanthus III, who was semi-retired to New Zealand early this year to live with Blyth’s former groom Fiona Fraser. She prepared him for Blyth to ride, and despite only being back in the country for a week, he looked like the champion he is until Xanthus ran out at a big brush corner combination near the end of the course.
They completed without further problems, with Blyth saying afterwards, “He was a bit cheeky today, asserting his own creative input. He needed the run to get back into the swing of things, but I wasn’t really surprised as that’s his party trick!”
The Equissage CIC1* was won by Greer Caddigan on Mr Mancini, finishing on their dressage score of 46.5 penalties. Vicky Brown-Cole, the dressage leader on Amazing Spy, had a show jumping rail down and 3.2 cross-country time penalties to drop to second on a score of 49.5.