Taupo rider Monica Oakley and Artist managed to turn the tables on Olympian Clarke Johnstone riding Aces High in 2020 in the Veterinary Associates CCI 4* Three Day Event after being beaten into second by Johnstone at the same event last year.

In the three day format the jumping test happens on day 3 and is jumped in reverse order of placing. Coming into the final test in second place Monica and Artist jumped a measured and precise round leaving all the poles up which put the pressure on overnight leader and last year’s winners Aces High and Clarke Johnstone. Aces looked to be jumping well then when he turned to the fence alongside the flapping tents he’d not liked yesterday disaster struck. “He was not 100% focused coming into that fence, leaning away from the tents a little bit and he just lost the quality of the canter a little and it (the fence) was very square – we just didn’t quite get that right.”

When the rail fell Monica knew she had won the title she has been seeking for several years. And what was even more special was to win it on her excellent dressage score of 25.5 penalties. She was the only rider to finish on her dressage score without adding further penalties in Artist’s  only second four star event and first long format. “ My goal was a sub 30 score and I’ve finished on 25.5 so I’m very happy with him. I was quite excited that we’d be first and second again like last year (when I rode Acrobat) but it turns out we swapped places.”  Third place went to Maddy Crowe and the consistent Waitangi Pinterest who’s 12 seconds over the time on yesterday’s cross country for 4.8 penalties left them on 30.3. Former winner of the title Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH finished 4th with Matthew Grayling and NRM Trudeau in 5th after three show jumping rails down cost them 12 penalties.

In the Prestige Equestrian CCI 2* there were only 5 clear show jumping rounds which changed the placings considerably. Bundy Philpott and Henton First Lady rose from fourth to take the win after their clear round. “She basically put her best foot forward all weekend. I only got her from a friend of mine Christen Lane a short time ago , and we’re just getting to know each other. But she’s really given me an easy time (this weekend)”.  Abigail Long took second and third placings with Cruising Guy and Henton Audacious who both had only one rail down. Overnight leader Lyrical and Angela Lloyd had a disappointing 4 fences down to drop down to eight and Jock Paget had three down with Bing Bong to drop to 7th.

The New Zealand Young Rider Three Day Championship was also decided in the 3* class with a delighted Rosa Millar and DSE Mister taking the title with a lovely clear jumping round to take the win. “I’m pretty stoked with the outcome….he pulled up awesome yesterday so he was pretty fresh today which was great, he jumped round for an awesome clear which I was stoked with. He just came in and did it for me and I’m really, really proud of him,”  she said of DSE Mister.

The Ssangyong CCI 2* Class Vicky Browne-Cole and Comanche II held onto their overnight lead to take the title on 25.8, followed by Clarke Johnstone on Watermill Hadley with Canterbury’s Molly Moffatt in third on Ngahiwi Makem. All 3 jumped lovely clear rounds. Disappointment of the day must go to last year’s winner of this class Mosgiel’s Ella Morshuis and World Famous who did not come forward for the third day, but they would have been pleased, no doubt, that another South Islander in Molly Moffatt was able to take out the New Zealand Junior Three Day Event Championship.

Photo: CCI4*-L Prize Giving Podium. By Jane Thompson