New Zealand eventers have started well in the CCN4*-S Olympic class at the Sydney International Three Day Event today, which got underway in very challenging conditions.
Maddy Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest are in second place at the end of the dressage on 27 penalty points, just behind leader Stuart Tinney and Celebration on 26.8. Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation are in fifth on 29.6 with Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH posting a personal best 31.5 for seventh place.
ESNZ high performance general manager Jock Paget says he was very pleased with all three scores. “It is a good start,” he says. “There has been a heap of rain and that made conditions a little tricky. They did consider moving it but then made the decision to stick with it. All the horses had to work hard in there, but it was fair.”
Maddy had plenty of praise for her mare. “She was just awesome. It (the conditions) was just horrible. Honestly, to ride in there and feel her sink into the bog . . . but she was the true professional. She stayed with me the whole time.”
It was the first time the combination has done a 5* test and Maddy says it was a big ask. “You go up the centre line and can’t breathe until you finish,” she said. “It is just hectic. I am so happy, and she tried really hard. I was very nervous when I looked at the class list when it came out – there were so many amazing horses in it.”
Clarke said he was “pleasantly surprised” with their mark. “It wasn’t our best effort. Ritchie (Balmoral Sensation) was a wee bit hot and the ground conditions really bad, but he had a lot of energy and the things he did well, he did really well. I am very happy with the mark.”
Clarke is no stranger to Sydney having won there three times with his horses KS Secrets and Orient Express.
Bundy said Tresca NZPH had tried his hardest in very tough conditions. “He didn’t seem to notice though. I am so grateful to be included in this group here and really happy with my horse.”
The Kiwis all say the beautifully presented cross country is going to be challenging, and particularly making time.
Clarke is sitting in second place with Domasco in the CCI2*-S on 29.1 penalty points, with Soigne Jackson and Warrego Collateral Damage leading on 25.1, while Hayley Frielick and Dunedin Black Watch scored 36.9 in the CCI4*-L to sit in third place.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by Libby Law/ESNZ