Australia has taken an early lead in the Tri-Nations series at New Zealand’s Horse of the Year Show in Hastings today.
The Kiwis, captained by Mark Todd, are sitting just behind, with the Chinese in third.
The first of three days of competition produced some mixed results from the teams – the Australians finished the two rounds on 20 faults, the New Zealanders on 28 and the Chinese on 58. All are riding borrowed mounts.
The opening round saw Todd on Kiwi Lotto and Lisa Coupe on NZ Supreme bag four faults apiece, with Maurice Beatson on Strictly NZPH picking up eight faults.
Brooke Dobbin and Renior NZPH were the best of the Aussies with a clear round, followed by Emma Smith aboard Bellwood Casanova picking up four and Merrick Ubank on Wishing Crown collecting 12.
Han Dan Chao Lu on Scottish Lad and Tian Wu aboard Vuvuzela picked up four faults apiece and Duan Yi Hua and El Mondo had 10 faults.
The second round saw clear rounds from Beatson for New Zealand, and Aussies Dobbin and Ubank.
The pressure was truly on Ubank, who had to finish the second round with less than eight faults to win the day for Australia.
It was a forgettable round for Han Dan Chao Lu who parted company with Scottish Lad. Interestingly, every rider who dropped a rail, did so at fence five.
New Zealand chef d’equipe Richard Sunderland was pleased with the efforts of his charges. “They competed well under pressure on borrowed horses,” he said.
The next round is tomorrow afternoon with the final on Saturday evening.
Australia (Brooke Dobbin on Renior NZPH, Emma Smith on Bellwood Casanova, Merrick Ubank on Wishing Crown) 20 faults from two rounds, three points.
New Zealand (Mark Todd on Kiwi Lotto, Lisa Coupe on NZ Supreme, Maurice Beatson on Strictly NZPH) 28 faults, two points.
China (Han Dan Chao Lu on Scottish Lad, Tian Wu on Vuvuzela, Duan Yi Hua on El Mondo) 58 faults, one point.