Clarke Johnstone still has the lead in the CCI4* at the Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide. Mike Etherington-Smith’s course certainly threw everything at combinations, but at the end of the day, the Kiwi camp were pretty happy and especially Johnstone.
It was every bit a 4* course, with a particularly challenging combination at number eight that caught many out. However, Johnstone (Matangi) and Balmoral Sensation handled it beautifully, to come home clear but with 8.8 time faults for finishing 22 seconds over the time allowed, to sit on 54.7 penalty points at the top of the leaderboard.
“It was hard,” said Johnstone. “It rode very difficult, but Ritchie (Balmoral Sensation) was his usual perfect self and answered all of the questions really well. He was more tired than I would have expected but he recovered really well.” Behind him is Sonja Johnson and Misty Isle Valentino on 60.7.
Ginny Thompson (Kaukapakapa) was over the moon with the efforts of Star Nouveau that sees them in sixth place on 62.6 having come home clear with just 4.4 time penalties. “She jumped out of her skin,” said Thompson. “I couldn’t be happier. She went out and showed them all how to do jump eight a, b and c.”They were the first combination to ace the bogey fence. Thompson successfully protested the 50 penalty points she was given at the water.
Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) was once again rapt with her horses. She is in eighth spot on DSE Mr Hokey Pokey on 69.9 after adding only time penalties to her tally, and in 14th aboard DSE Tangolooma. “Tangolooma was the trail blazer and I wish I could ride him around again with what I learnt from my other round,” she said. “Overall I am so happy with him. And Yogi (Mr Hokey Pokey), what can I say? What a little legend – he just keeps getting better and better.”
Andy Daines (Kumeu) was ecstatic with the efforts of his “Perfect Pete” (Spring Panorama) who sits in 10th place after going clear and adding time penalties. “He was just amazing. I had Jock (Paget) and Clarke (Johnstone) in my head telling me not to pull and it so paid off. I am over the moon with my baby. He made up for dressage day 100 fold.”
Samantha Felton (Matangi) looked on track to complete the course strongly but came unstuck at the very last fence when the two parted company. “I am gutted. I am starting to come to terms with it and I’m actually so proud of how we both tackled the challenging fences. He was jumping super and had got a second wind, so I galloped to the last, made a poor decision and paid the price. It is all experience and the exciting part is that I know I’ve got a 4* horse here.”
Fourteen of the 20 starters completed the cross country today, with just Stuart Tinney aboard War Hawk, who sits in third spot, and Emily Gray on Jocular Vision coming home clear and inside time. Tinney initially had a 50 added, but it was removed on protest. War Hawk was actually started by showjumper Claire Wilson who jumped him as The Raffle as a five-year-old.
The top 10 combinations were all clear jumping. Of the six who didn’t complete, one combination retired on course, with the remaining five eliminated.
The showjumping promises much, with Johnstone having a six penalty point buffer over the second-placed Johnson, who is just .3 ahead of Tinney.
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