Veteran Kiwi eventer Matthew Grayling and Henton Executive have a 12 penalty lead in the Honda NZ CCI3* at the Puhinui International Three-Day-Event, despite a few scary moments on the cross-country.
In second place after Saturday’s cross-country is Kelsey Rotheray on The Felon, with Dannie Lodder on Moochi a further 21.6 penalties adrift.
Trailblazer Brent Jury was the only round under the time on the day but after a disastrous dressage on Friday on SE Big, is still only in fourth place.
The course was very testing, and three of the competitors didn’t finish the course including the overnight leaders, Angela Lloyd and Song who had a soft fall in the water.
Grayling and Henton Executive had a couple of near misses on the course including in the influential water complex in the main arena. “He came out of the water and left a leg, and the distance was tight enough as it was for a horse that powers up the bank,” he said.
But the dairy farmer from Taranaki was full of praise for his horse, bred locally by Henton Lodge Hanoverians.
“This is the first time I have ridden the horse at this level. He showed good heart, he was honest. I said go and he backed me,” Grayling said.
In the Cato Packaging CCI2*, Donna Smith and Balmoral Sensation retained their lead from the dressage phase, although with 3.6 time faults, their margin has slipped, and three of the country’s top young riders are fewer than 7 penalties behind. Virginia Thompson was clear and within the time to be in second place, Clarke Johnstone on Leo Degas is third, with Samantha Felton on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo in fourth.
Last year in this competition Smith and Balmoral Sensation had a spectacular fall in the main arena. Smith confessed to a few pre-event nerves. “I let out a huge sigh of relief when I left the arena this time, I hadn’t realised it was bothering me so much. I have never had so many people saying ‘Good luck mate’ before I set off.”
Smith was also full of praise for Andrew Nicholson who had given her some tips on Friday. “I had a great conversation with Andrew, he was so inspiring. He told me I had a beautiful horse and it was great that he cared enough to give me some advice, and be so forthcoming with his knowledge.”
The Balmoral horses also continued good form in the Veterinary Associates CCI* with Simone Kann on Balmoral Oakey taking the lead after a clear cross-country. It’s a tight squeeze between the top five in this class, with only 4 faults separating them. Cherie Jaques on Tobinator and Sophie Wilkinson on Bob’s Dream are in second and third place.
The horses must pass a veterinary inspection in the morning before they then take on the final phase in the competition, the showjumping. The CCI* starts at 10.45, the CCI3* at 1.30 and the CCI2* at 2.45pm.
Results after Cross Country:
Matthew Grayling, Henton Executive 57.6
Kelsey Rothery, The Felon, 69.6
Dannie Lodder, Moochi, 79.2
Brent Jury, SE Big, 83.4
Donna Smith, Balmoral Sensation, 42.1
Virginia Thompson, Star Nouveau, 46.7
Clarke Johnstone, Leo Degas, 47.4
Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, 48.9
Simone Kann, Balmoral Oakey, 45.6
Cherie Jaques, Tobinator, 46.2
Sophie Wilkinson, Bob’s Dream, 48.1
Jessica Woods, LV Award, 49.4