Five Kiwi combinations head to the boutique Wallaby Hill International 3 Day Event this weekend in Robertson, New South Wales.
Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) leads the crew in the Bucas CCI4*-L aboard his 15-year-old New Zealand warmblood Balmoral Sensation. The combo were New Zealand’s best performed at the Rio Olympics with a sixth place individual finish, fifth on debut at Badminton, won the CCI5*-L at Adelaide in 2017 and can lay claim to all the big crowns on this side of the Tasman too with 12 wins from 22 starts including 14 podium finishes.
“I am really looking forward to riding at Wallaby Hill,” says Clarke. “It is a stunning venue with a great course designer in Mike Etherington-Smith and top judges. The main goal is to qualify for Tokyo but Sensation is feeling very well and I am hoping we will be very competitive.”
Balmoral Sensation was bred by David Goodin and is by Senator VDL out of Aberzanne (by Aberlou).
Madison Crowe (Matangi) and Waitangi Pinterest, who are the current holders of the New Zealand Three Day Event crown, are also on the card. This combination, who recently placed fourth in the CCI4*-S at Adelaide, also carry an impressive CV of podium finishes through the grades. The 11-year-old bay mare is a thoroughbred warmblood cross by Cassiano out of Amberlou (by Aberlou).
Madison is keen to get cracking. “Adelaide was a great show and good preparation in the lead-up to Wallaby Hill,” she says. She is feeling really good and has travelled back (to Shane Rose’s base) super. I am really looking forward to Wallaby Hill. It looks like the most stunning venue and I can’t wait to get there. Hopefully I can polish off the small things from Adelaide and produce a stronger performance.”
Aussie-based Kiwi Laura Wallace lines up aboard her 15-year-old bay thoroughbred gelding Van Heck. They’ve done CCI4*-L before but this is their first time at this level at Robertson.
The combination won the CCI4*-L at Camperdown in Victoria earlier this year. Laura also has Tokyo on her mind. “I am aiming to get Van Heck’s last 4* MER and given that Wallaby Hill is just 20 minutes down the road from home, it is the perfect opportunity to run at a beautiful event without having to travel too far,” she says.
“Hector is a very quirky character and can be quite opinionated, so we have been working super hard on consistency across all phases. He wouldn’t suit everyone but I think we have reached a good understanding now he has been at 4* for a couple of seasons.” Van Heck was bred by Westbury Stud and is by Desert Fox out of Escaline.
Laura has entered 13-year-old Irish sport horse ESB Irish Autumn in the Otto Sport Australia CCI3*-L alongside fellow Aussie-based Kiwi Amalia Rowley on her New Zealand bred thoroughbred Mexico II.
Wallaby Hill gets underway with the first horse inspection on Thursday followed by dressage on Friday, cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday.
WHAT: Wallaby Hill International 3 Day Event
WHEN: November 27-December 1, 2019
WHERE: Robertson, New South Wales, Australia
CLICK HERE FOR START LISTS & RESULTS
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Balmoral Sensation – owned by the Johnstone Family
Waitangi Pinterest – owned by the Crowe Family
Van Heck – owned by the Selby Syndicate
ESB Irish Autumn – owned by Heather, Glenn and Laura Wallace
Mexico II – owned by the Rowley Family
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ