Johnstone aims to extend NZ’s eventing Super League lead

New Zealand Eventer of the Year, Clarke Johnstone on Balmoral Sensation.
Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation. © Libby Law

Eventing Central Districts run the penultimate ESNZ Eventing Super League at their horse trials on the McKelvie property, Pukemarama Farm, near Foxton this coming weekend.

The Norwood Farm Machinery CNC3* class has attracted a small field of five starters, none of whom feature at the top of the Super League, so no major changes are expected.

The CIC3* class staged at the South Island Three-day Event at McLeans Island, Christchurch, last weekend drew only three starters, with Canterbury veterinarian Sam Taylor on Leo Degas the only one to finish after Masterton lawyer Sarah Dalziell had a surprise fall from Benrose Super Star in the showjumping phase. The win saw Taylor move into fifth place in the series, having also won the Canterbury event in October.

Current Super League leaders Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation have the opportunity to open up a substantial lead this weekend as they are competing in the CCI3* at the Sydney International Three-day Event at the Olympic venue of Horsley Park. Johnstone has won both 3* classes he has contested since buying the former Donna Smith horse two months ago, and while he is taking it one step at a time, is hoping to measure up for selection to the World Equestrian Games in France at the end of August.

The final event of the year-long series, the NRM National Three-day Event at Taupo, 16-18 May, will be critical, as any one of the top nine combinations could pull up dramatically with a good performance there, the points being close enough to ensure keen competition right down to the wire. Three-day events earn double points, so are extremely influential, and as Balmoral Sensation will be resting, the result will be very interesting.


Standings after ten events:

Clarke Johnstone (Hamilton), Balmoral Sensation, 147 pts; Dannie Lodder (Auckland), Moochi, 143.5 pts; Simon Gordon (Auckland),, 136.5 pts; Angela Lloyd (Auckland), Song, 124 pts; Sam Taylor (Swanannoa), Leo Degas, 115 pts; Kelsey Rothery (Cambridge), The Felon, 114.5 pts; Matthew Grayling (New Plymouth), NRM Lowenberg, 101.5 pts.


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