Clear and timely cross country rounds have seen both Clarke Johnstone and Tim Price scoot up the CCI4*-L leaderboard. There were just three clear, inside times, on the Mike Etherington-Smith-designed cross country – two of those belonged to Clarke and one to Tim.

Clarke and Aces High rose from 10th to second to remain on their 29.8 penalty point dressage score. “I am thrilled with Aces today,” said Clarke. “It is his first 4* since Puhinui in 2020 and he was in great form. He is a very fast horse and really made the time feel easy.”

The course had been challenging. “It was quite difficult with questions from start to finish but beautifully built by Mike (Etherington-Smith) and in the most stunning terrain so it really was a thrill to ride around on three lovely horses.”

Clarke was inside time on all of three mounts, and clear with both Aces High and Menlo Park, with an unfortunate frangible pin on Leopard’s Action.

Tim and Coup de Coeur Dudevin moved from 13th to fourth with their 31.7 penalty point score, while Clarke and Menlo Park made the biggest gain though rising from 21st to sixth to finish the day on 33.1. Overnight leader Laura Collett (GBR) Dacapo added 2.4 time faults to her score for a tally of 26.7.

Tim and Happy Boy picked up two time faults during their clear jumping round for a score of 34.2 and eighth place after two phases. Clarke and Leopard’s Action were inside time but added 11 from a pin, to finish on 44.1 in 16th, with Virginia Thompson and Gladstone jumping 11 spots with their 56.4 penalty point effort. Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ finished the day on 78, with Virginia and Capitaine de Hus Z sit on 85.4. Jonelle Price and Killbunny Andy were eliminated during the cross country.

Tim Price said the 4*-L cross country had been a strong test but very nicely presented. “There were tests all round the course,” said Tim. He praised Clarke’s efforts with all three of his horses inside the time. “One of my two went inside the time and the other was a few seconds over but I was very pleased with both of them.”

All the Kiwis had done well he said. “It was a tough enough track with lots of things to slow us down all the way. Great tracks through all the levels and we are now looking forward to tomorrow.”

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo have finished the CCI4*-S in seventh spot. The Kiwi combo improved their placing with every test, sitting in 17th after the dressage, 13th after the showjumping and finally seventh after a cross country that saw not a single combination clear and inside time.

Samantha and Bing Bong’s clear and inside time effort in the CCI3*-L saw them move from third to second, sitting on 28.5 penalty points, just a smidgen behind leader Laura Collett (GBR) on Outback on 28.2. Samantha picked up two time penalties on Ricker Ridge Ricochet to finish the day on 30.3 in fifth spot. It was a similar story for Tim and Gurtera Jimmy Clover, who added 1.2 to their dressage score for a final tally of 33.4 in 11th spot.

Amanda Goldsbury and Fernhill Inspector finished the day on 66.6, Tim Rusbridge aboard Inception are on 72.1, Samantha and Senor Crocodillo on 75.6, and Clarke with Domasco on 75.9. Just 10 of the 51-strong field came home clear and inside time.

Jonelle Price and Fernhill Kankan have taken the lead in the CCI2-L thanks to a lovely clear round inside time, to now sit on 31 penalty points. Virginia Thompson and Katchafire added a costly 6.8 time penalties to their dressage score to slip from first to 15th with a score of 37.

Tim and Ballygriffin Cyril moved up 10 slots with their clean efforts to finish the day on 37.8 in 18th spot. Jonelle and Full Monty de Lacense came home with both jump and time penalties. Fifteen combinations in the 35-strong field were clear and inside time.

Tim and Polystar I sit in third place after the dressage and showjumping tests in the CCI3*-S class with their 30.5 penalty point score. Ian Cassels (IRE) and Rosconnell Alto lead the field on 30.4.


Happy Boy – owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller
Coup de Coeur Dudevin – owned by Jean-Louis Stauffer
Killbunny Andy – owned by Therese Miller and Constance Edmundson
Aces High – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Menlo Park – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Leopard’s Action – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ – owned by Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington
Capitaine De Hus Z – owned by David and Karie Thomson and Virginia Thompson
Gladstone – owned by Elaine Butterworth, Anthony Quirk and Virginia Thompson
Faerie Dianimo – owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
Ricker Ridge Ricochet – owned by Samantha Lissington
Senor Crocodillo – owned by Alexander and Joseph Giannamore
Bing Bong – owned by Alexander and Joseph Giannamore
Gurtera Jimmy Clover – owned by Michael McGrath
Domasco – owned by Clarke Johnstone
Fernhill Inspector – owned by Nicola Roden
Inception – owned by Tim Rusbridge
Polystar I – owned by Trisha Rickards
Katchafire – owned by Phillippa Levy, Ross Milne and Virginia Thompson
Full Monty de Lacense – owned by Jackie Oliver, Kate Holmes and Jo Pidduck
Fernhill Kankan – owned by Therese Miller and Julia Lukas
Ballygriffin Cyril – owned by Mark & Cassie Whitney and Tim Rusbridge

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ