A Wonderful Weekend of Equestrian World Cups in Sydney
New Zealander Clarke Johnstone took out his second Eventing World Cup qualifier for 2011 in Sydney this weekend, snatching victory from some of Australia's best riders in a close finish. The Sydney International Equestrian Centre looked its best for the Weekend of World Cups, almost as good as it did in 2000 for the Sydney Olympics when Australia won gold. The Equestrian NSW FEI World Cup Eventing CIC3*-W class began on Friday with the Dressage phase, a test of harmony for horse and rider. Dressage guru Heath Ryan from Heatherbrae, NSW set the standard high early in the class with a lovely test scoring 69.38%, just 45.90 penalties. He held the lead until Clarke entered the arena on Orient Express 20 riders later performing a lovely test and putting himself 0.5 penalties ahead. The lead changed again when Tim Boland from Wyong Creek, NSW and GV Billy Elliot scored 70.74%, giving them just 43.90 penalties. At the end of the evenings competition 2008 Silver medallist Shane Rose from Werombi, NSW and the expressive Taurus were in 2nd place, Clarke retained 3rd place and 2010 winner Chris Burton from Wilburforce, NSW was in equal 4th with Heath Ryan.
Just 5.70 penalties separated the top ten places as the competition moved to the cross country course designed by international designer Ewan Kellet. Large crowds arrived on Saturday to watch the action as Chris Burton left the start box on Newsprint. They recorded the fastest time of the day, going clear and moving up from 13th place after dressage to 7th. Heath Ryan followed Chris with a clear round but had 17.6 time penalties moving him down into 9th. Both Shane Rose and Chris Burton didn’t complete the course on one of their rides. Chris slipped on a corner with Alan Skinner’s Haruzac and Shane retired APH Moritz at fence 18 after having a problem with the line of large, angled apexes at jump 14. This fence was picked by Eventing legend Wayne Roycroft in the hosted cross country tour as one of the most difficult on course and with 9 recorded stops at this combination he proved why he was Australia’s Eventing coach for so many years.
The overnight leader Tim Boland on Billy Elliot was one of the riders to have an issue with this fence, as well as a stop into the 2GB water, giving him 40 penalties and moving him out of the placings. The tough track proved influential to the field with just five other riders joining Chris and Newsprint with clear rounds. Shane Rose and Taurus moved into the lead with their clear, closely followed by Clarke Johnstone on Orient Express and Chris Burton on HP Leilani. Soigne Jackson also from Werombi, NSW made use of ex-racehorse Gold's speed to produce a clear round climbing up the leaderboard to 8th place and Tallara Barwick from Glenorie, NSW on Chief Justice also went clear, moving up from 22nd place into 11th. The top three places were separated by only 1.6 penalties which left no room for error in the final phase of show jumping.
After the final vet inspection twenty of the thirty starters went forward to the final Show Jumping phase of the competition on Sunday afternoon. Starting in reverse order riders in the placings understood the need to go clear over the John Vallance designed track in order to keep pressure on the leaders.
Emma Scott from Balranald, NSW was second out on Jenbern Monyana with 2 refusals on the cross country and 131.20 penalties. Emma rode a beautiful round going clear to show it could be done and finishing in 19th place. The next clear was Emma Mason from Kulnura, NSW on F1 Pharinelli seven riders later. Pharinelli had one stop cross country and carried 85.30 penalties into the show jumping giving the a final placing of 13th. Chris Burton, riding out of order with his first ride Newsprint went clear to secore 5th place. Craig Barrett from Branxton, NSW brought the first of his rides, 8th placed Sandhills Brillaire, into the ring going clear to move up into 7th. Craig's higher placed horse Wendella Jamie, coming in a few horse later, looked tired and took 5 rails ending in 11th place. Sydney 2000 Gold medallist Stuart Tinney from Maraylya, NSW sitting in 4th place on Vettori rode a calm, clear round to keep the pressure on the top three. Chris Burton showed great composure to keep the rails up with HP Leilani, reacting with emotion after safely crossed the finishing line. Clarke Johnstone also displayed a maturity beyond his years with yet another clear round on Orient Express. All eyes were on Shane Rose and Taurus as they entered for the final round. With no breathing space between 1st and 2nd he had to leave all the rails up to keep his lead. An audible groan was heard as Taurus dropped the first rail, giving victory to Clarke Johnstone, Shane finishing in 3rd place behind Chris Burton. 2008 Silver medallist Megan Jones from South Australia on the Magic Millions Yearling Kirby Park Allofasudden finished in 6th.
This was Clarke's second victory in the 2011 FEI World CupTM Eventing Series
after winning the first round in Kihikiihi, New Zealand in April. The series now moves to the Northern Hemisphere with round three set to be held in Chatsworth Great Britain. Chris Burton, with two 2nd places in the competition, is taking his team of horses to England with the intention of winning the series as he prepares for possible selection for the London Olympics next year
The other feature event for the weekend was the Jumping NSW Greater Sydney Show Jumping World Cup Qualifier. Designer John Vallance built a challenging track with the first and last fences looking straight into the crowd. David Dobson from Perth, WA came into the arena on Akon as the second rider in the strong field of 28 rider recording an early clear in a time of 84.38 seconds. Only four other riders joined David with a clear round. Ingrid Clarke from Victoria on PS Monet, 2010 winner of this event Jamie Kermond from Ebenezer, NSW on Colthaga, Cathy Graham from Queensland on Davinci's Pride and Billy Raymont from Queensland on Nicalette NZPH all carrying zero penalties in to the 2nd round. Olivia Hamood from Queensland rode a careful clear round on Nero GHP gaining one time penalty with a time of 86.04 seconds to move into round 2. Four of the fastest four faulters joined the second round giving a final number of ten riders through.
Just one rider, Cathy Graham on Davinci's Pride, was able to record a double clear to win the class. Andrew Inglis had one rail down in the first on Amira R but recovred in stage 2 with a clear round giving them 2nd place. 3rd went to Billy Raymont from QLD, on Nicllette NZPH, 4th place went to David Dobson on Aion 5th place to Nic Taliana on the amazing jumping machine Ambrose who cleanly cleared the lot to win 5th place. In 6th was Ingrid Clarke on PS Monet. 7th went to Jamie Grant and 8th went to a dissapointed Jamie Kermond and his mare Colthaga.
Full report on other classes coming asap.
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