Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation are leading the way for the Kiwis at the CHIO in Aachen, Germany.
The Matangi duo were the best of the crew at the end of the day in the Eventing Nations Cup, sitting in sixth place after the dressage and showjumping phases at the prestigious event. The New Zealand team are third with the cross country to come.
Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation scored 27.1 penalty points in their dressage for 11th overall, moving up to sixth thanks to their efforts in the showjumping where they added nothing to their tally. “I am very happy with how Ritchie went today,” said Johnstone, who is competing for the first time at Aachen. “I am pleased to be in sixth going into the cross country in some very impressive company.”
Team mate Tim Price and Cekatinka are in eight, also remaining on their dressage score of 27.5, with Sir Mark Todd aboard Kiltubrid Rhapsody in 24th on 37.9 and Blyth Tait on 55.8 in 39th.
Dan Jocelyn, who is riding as an individual, is on 36.8 in 19th spot aboard Grovine de Reve.
German Julia Krajewski sits proudly at the top of the leaderboard in both first and second places, leading on Chipmunk FRH with 19.7 and in second spot aboard Samourai du Thot on 22.5.
The showjumping proved influential, with just 11 of the 42-strong class coming home clear and inside time. The French dominated, filling the top three spots, but their combined scores saw Lt Col Thibaut Vallette and Qing du Briot ENE HN the best of the bunch in seventh place at the end of the day.
The field is down a few more already, with two combinations withdrawing before the cross country, one eliminated in the showjumping and two eliminated in the dressage including Australian team rider Robert Palm aboard Koko Story.
Germany leads the team standings on 79.4 penalty points, with France second on 90.9 and New Zealand third on 92.5. The Kiwis were in second after the dressage but slipped to third of seven teams at the end of the showjumping.
But tonight’s cross country will surely add a cat among the pigeons.
ESNZ high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom says the team travelled well to Europe.
“The cross country course is looking very nice. They have done a phenomenal amount of work on the ground because it has been very hot and in drought here but the organisers in Aachen are so efficient at absolutely everything that the footing is going to be very good,” he says.
The horse details:
Balmoral Sensation – owned by the Johnstone Family
Cekatinka – owned by Joanne Pullan
Havanna – owned by Jane Lovell-Smith, Katherine Corich and John Ormiston
Kiltubrid Rhapsody – owned by Niki Ryan and Dr Elizabeth Donald
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller, Jo Preston-Hunt, Philip Hunt and Dan Jocelyn
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ