It has been a weekend and a half for the Kiwis competing at the Kilguilkey House International Horse Trials in Ireland with Clarke Johnstone riding off with two wins and the CCI4*-L totally dominated by the New Zealanders.
Clarke and Menlo Park took the honours in the 24-strong class, finishing on their 28.5 penalty point dressage score, followed by Jonelle Price aboard Hiarado on 31.4, Samantha Lissington with Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ on 34.7, and Tim Price with Viscount Viktor rounding out the top four with a score of 35.
Clarke also took out the CCI3*-L, this time with Domasco, once again finishing on their dressage score of 25.5. Tim and Dromgurrihy Gold were fifth in the 21-strong class on 34.9, with Tayla Mason and Joopiter seventh on 37.
Clarke was rapt with all of his team. “I’m feeling very pleased with my week in Ireland! It was amazing to take the win in the 4*-L with Menlo Park, as well as gain my Olympic Qualification for Paris 2024,” said Clarke. “He performed very well in all three phases and made my job feel easy. It was also a great bonus to take the win in the 3*-L on Domasco. I’m very excited about him for the future.”
It was Clarke’s first visit to the Irish event, his first FEI win since moving to the UK and Menlo Park’s first 4*-L victory. “I am just delighted – to win two is special.” He praised the Ian Stark-designed cross country course saying the first half had been “really in your face”, with a lot to be jumped. “The time proved to be reasonably difficult to get too. I was really pleased with Menlo Park going inside time. He was very fit and galloped really well all the way. It was certainly testing.”
Tayla Mason was also on the podium in the CCI2*-L , placing third aboard Rehy Showtime, finishing on their 30.3 dressage score in the class that attracted 16 combinations.
Jonelle Price and Senor Crocodillo took out the 31-strong CCI4*-S adding nothing to their 31.2 dressage score, with husband Tim in second aboard Jarillo on 31.7. Clarke and Aces High rounded out the top 10 with their 43.7 penalty point score.
ESNZ high performance general manager Jock Paget was very happy with the efforts of the Kiwi contingent, especially on the back of Aachen where things hadn’t quite gone to plan. “The guys were there for Olympic qualifications as well, and those opportunities are few and far between,” said Jock. “That in itself puts a lot of pressure on the table, so to go there and achieve that while also being very competitive is great. It is easy to take the foot off the gas just to get the qualification. Clarke went in, laid it down and pulled it off. Finishing on a score of 28.5 at this level is impressive and where we need to be aiming for Paris if we want to challenge the winners in the team classification.”
The horse details;
Menlo Park (by Berlin out of faerie Queen who is by Rock King) – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Domasco (by Zoofany out of Iwunder who is by King’s Best) – owned by Clarke Johnstone
Hiarado (by Diarado out of Ubiloa who is by Ekstein) – owned by David and Karie Thomson
Dromgurrihy Gold – owned by Michael McGrath
Joopiter – owned by Sonya and Tayla Mason, Therese Miller and Katherine Corich
Rehy Showtime – owned by Andrea Ryan
Senor Crocodillo (by Connor 48 out of Marni who is by Exorbitant XX) – owned by Joseph and Alexander Giannamore
Jarillo (by Dantos out of Fiorilla who is by Alicante) – owned by Lucy Allison, Frances Stead and James and Rachel Good
For full results, head to https://www.eventingireland.com/results/single/?eventid=9095#class-24524
By Diana Dobson – ESNZ high performance media liaison