Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation were predicted to be in the lead after the dressage phase of the three-star eventing competition at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show, but perhaps where the pundits went wrong was in predicting more of a lead.
Even Clarke appeared disappointed with his champion’s performance. He described it as “quite good but less good than last time he was here”. Ritchie broke at the walk and while the rest of his test was still of a high standard, we had hoped he was going to be at the top of his game here at Hastings and give us a dazzling display.
The judges all agreed he was the best, but Helen Christie also thought Clarke’s other horse in the competition, Wolf Whistle II, was as good. In fact, the judges were fairly much in agreement with the top few horses, with the exception of Wolf Whistle, who the Swiss judge, Christian Landolt, had down in 13th place (he went to fifth after the three judges’ scores were combined).
Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding are breathing down Clarke’s neck, just 1.9 penalties behind him, and Sarah Young and Leo Degas are just 0.1 behind Amanda, with Madison Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest another 0.3 behind Sarah. The women will be gunning to beat Clarke, but Chris Ross’s cross-country will test them all, especially as time is predicted to be tight.
Sarah was delighted with her gelding. “I don’t think he did anything very wrong. He’s pretty cool and very straightforward, I just have to hope that the judges are feeling good this morning.”
Maddy was also delighted with her mare, Waitangi Pinterest. “She’s cool. She still is not 100% on all the three-star movements, but I was really pleased with our efforts.”
Samantha Felton has the lead in the CCI2* class with her promising Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, although Abby Lawrence is only 0.3 behind her. Chanel Griffiths on Astek Guardsman slots into third place.
The cross-country is due to start at 9 tomorrow morning and promises to be an exciting spectacle as competitors wind their way through trade stands and under the trees, as well as going through the main arena. The water jump is always a big feature, attracting large crowds to see if any rider takes a dip.
Results after the dressage phase
Clarke Johnstone, Matangi, Balmoral Sensation, 31.7
Amanda Pottinger, Havelock North, Just Kidding, 33.6
Sarah Young, Tokoroa, Leo Degas, 33.7
Madison Crowe, Hamilton, Waitangi Pinterest, 34
Clarke Johnstone, Wolf Whistle II, 35.7
Nick Brooks, Cambridge, For Fame, 35.7
Samantha Felton, Matangi, Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, 26.7
Abby Lawrence, Te Puke, Anonymous, 27
Chanel Griffiths, Auckland, Astek Guardsman, 29.6
Aleisha Collett, Pokeno, Mi Focus, 29.9
Sophie Alexander, Auckland, World Famous, 30
Abigail Long, Levin, Cruising Guy, 31.2