After a busy morning’s show jumping, there are new leaders in both the CCI4* and CCI3* eventing classes at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.
While Clarke Johnstone had a rail on Balmoral Sensation in the four-star, thus tying for the top spot with Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH, he then told NZ Horse & Pony he was withdrawing his Tokyo Olympic hopeful. “I’m going to save him for another day,” says Clarke; the pair have previously won the Eventing Horse of the Year title three times, and are due to shortly fly out to the UK.
Clarke says he thinks Chris Ross’ cross-country track looks fair. “The flow looks better to me compared to last year’s track, which is great. I’m looking forward to riding Ace’s High around it.”
Ace’s High, with whom Clarke won the Puhinui CCI4* last December, also had a rail, and is now in fifth place.
Bundy’s clear round was one of just two in the class, with many of the eventing horses looking a little rattled jumping in the Premier arena.
Bundy says Tresca NZPH, aka ‘Pete’, is a great jumper. “He always puts his best foot forward, and today he was super.”
She says the cross-country track is tough, “and when combined with the crowds, and the lanes, that makes it tougher. But Chris Ross always does an amazing job and sets us a challenge, which makes tomorrow exciting!”
Last year’s winner, Muzi Pottinger and Just Kidding, had a rail but has held on to second spot, just 0.8pen behind Bundy, while Madison Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest, who also had a rail, are close behind her in third.
Muzi says she was happy with how ‘Ferg’ felt and jumped today, and though one down wasn’t ideal, “with only two clears overall it wasn’t a bad day at the office!”
And it went some way towards making up for the disappointment she felt after dressage. “It didn’t get off to a great start, which puts a bit of a dampener on the whole test, and then I made a silly mistake during the last flying change, which was frustrating, but lesson learnt, hopefully.”
The cross-country track looks do-able, Muzi says, though it certainly has its questions, and she believes that the time will be very influential.
Monica Oakley and Acrobat were the other clear show jumping round today, and are now in fourth place, while Diane Gilder and Your Attorney, who had two rails, are sixth.
In the CCI3* class there was even more carnage, with just six clears among 26 starters.
Donna Edwards-Smith and DSE Cluny were among the clears, to shoot from sixth to first place, with young riders in second and third: Vicky Browne-Cole second on Cutting Edge, and Alena Dorotich third on Donner XS.
Three rails down for dressage leader Monica Oakley and Artist saw them tumble down to seventh, and two down for Jock Paget and Bing Bong has seem them down from second to ninth.