Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone is comfortably leading the CCI4* field at the end of the dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide. He and Balmoral Sensation scored 45.9 penalty points, 3.6 ahead of the second-placed Sonja Johnson aboard Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison on 49.5.
Samantha Felton (Matangi) and Ricker Ridge Pico Boo are the next best of the Kiwis in fifth on 51.3, with Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) seventh on DSE Mr Hokey Pokey with 51.9 and ninth on DSE Tangolooma on 54.1.
“I was very pleased with Ritchie,” said Johnstone (Matangi) of Balmoral Sensation. “It was a solid test. We had a couple of small mistakes, but overall I am very pleased.”
Felton too had promising things to say about her dressage with Ricker Ridge Pico Boo. “We had some great work but I was really surprised with how the atmosphere affected him,” she said. “He has never been so hot in the 10 years I have had him. I made some annoying mistakes which I was really disappointed with but I think the score showed there is lots to look forward to once we iron those out.”
Smith was pleased with her team, saying both horses had tried really hard. “It has been a massive team effort here and from the team at home,” she said.
Virginia Thompson (Kaukapakapa) and Star Nouveau sit on 58.2 penalty points in 13th spot. “She produced some very fancy trot work which I was happy with,” said Thompson. “This won’t be a dressage show. I am very excited about the cross country tomorrow. There are loads of questions and they just keep coming but it looks like a great track.”
Andy Daines (Kumeu) was a little disappointed with his 63 penalty point dressage effort aboard Spring Panorama. “He had the most amazing warm up and felt great but just didn’t want to come to the party once he got in the main ring,” said Daines. “I guess that is horses for you.”
However, he says the cross country looks amazing and he’s looking forward to that. “After what would have to be the most disappointing dressage yet, I’ve told Pete (Spring Panorama) that he owes me so he had better jump clear.”
Jock Paget, who is at the event in a coaching capacity, says the cross country will be tough. “It is beautiful,” he says. “It is what you would expect from Mikey (Etherington-Smith). The ground is great and I think the horses will enjoy galloping on it but the time is not going to be easy. You have a lot of slowing down and then having to accelerate quickly, lots of turning and trees, and there is a lot to remember. There are some really good questions.”
9.30am – 4.00pm
11.30am – 6.00pm
The horse details:
Balmoral Sensation owned by the Johnstone Family
DSE Tangolooma owned by Donna and Elise Edwards-Smith and Graham Smith
DSE Mr Hokey Pokey owned by Elise Edwards
Star Nouveau owned by Virginia Thompson
Spring Panorama owned by Leanne and David Jensen and Andrew Daines
Ricker Ridge Pico Boo owned by Dale and Nanette Felton
Van Heck owned by the Selby Syndicate
Black Crest owned by the Selby Syndicate
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ