Toompkins and Major Difference were placed fifth after the dressage, but a clear cross-country run with only two time penalties moved them up into first place, and they held on to their lead despite dropping one rail and incurring four time penalties in the show jumping.
The combination has gone from strength to strength this season, but it hasn't been an easy ride. "I'm really lucky to have a horse like this come along at just the right time for me, he's done a really good job this season," Tosmpkins said.
"I was really happy with him. For a 16-year-old, he's still learning new tricks. He's freakishly good, but he's very much his own person and you can't argue with him. If you can manage to direct his strength and stubbornness in the right way, then he's amazing."
It was the fourth time Tompkins has won the national advanced title, with her first win in 1997 on Masterpeace, followed by Arragato in 1998, and Glengarrick in 2000.
Longtime eventing stalwart Bryce Newman and the classy chestnut Bates Trademark picked up the Picadilly trophy for Intermediate Champion and winner of the Bell Tea CCI2* class, beating two-day leader Jonathan Paget and Clifton Pinot. Bryce jumped clear, while Jonathan, who had been leading from the dressage, dropped one costly rail to finish second.
The CCI1* and Mamaku Trophy was won by Corumbo, ridden by Donna Smith, who the national advanced title the past two years. Corumbo, however, is new to the sport: the horse started eventing only in March. The combination led from start to finish with only a few time penalties on the cross-country and one rail down in the show-jumping.
The new Pre-novice class was well supported, with Eliza Johns on Silent Seeker winning the class of more than 70 entries. The title of Pre-Novice Three Day Champion went to Stephen Field riding Anaheim.
For the first time, in an effort to support the grass-roots of the sport, two cross-country courses ran simultaneously, with more than 150 horse and rider combinations from two classes, the CCI* and the Pre-Novice Championship, running at two minute intervals around two adjoining cross-country tracks.
"It was an excellent event," Eliza Johns said. "I ride for fun and I haven't ridden at Taupo since I was a young rider. It was really awesome to participate in such a great event."