Johnstone consolidates Puhinui lead with impressive cross country round

Clarke Johnstone after his excellent cross country performance on Balmoral  Sensation.
Clarke Johnstone after his excellent cross country performance on Balmoral Sensation. Photo: Jane Thompson

The good crowds were given a treat today when Clarke Johnstone on Balmoral Sensation flew around the testing cross country course in the Honda New Zealand CCI*** for a clear round within the time at the Puhinui International Three Day Event in Auckland.

Johnstone modestly thought it wasn’t as smooth as he would have liked, but it looked all class to those watching.

“It was clear and under time, so I can’t ask for any more,” he said.

He now has a 10.4 lead over Donna Smith on Tangalooma, who jumped clear but ended up with 2.8 time faults. Nadal KSNZ with Fraser King has moved into third place on 61.6.  Englishman Nick Gauntlett is right behind him on his Australian horse, El Grado.

A number of the competitors found the challenging cross country too much, and unfortunately both Emily Cammock and Annabel Wigley had to withdraw one of their horses before this phase.

Cammock, on her second ride Dambala, currently lie fifth.

Seven horses will go forward to the veterinary check tomorrow morning and, if cleared, will show jump tomorrow.

Johnstone is as confident as any top rider allows themselves to be.

“I’ve been jumping 1.5-metre grand prix showjumping on him lately, so he should be fine. He is a very good jumper.”

In the Cato Packaging CCI**, there was a big change in the leaderboard. There are now two on equal penalties in the lead; Katharine Van Tuyl on Double J Sunshine and Diane Gilder on Your Attorney.

Katharine Van Tuyl with Double J Sunshine in action today.
Katharine Van Tuyl with Double J Sunshine in action today. Photo: Jane Thompson

However, as  Van Tuyl had 0.4 of a timefault, Gilder is the official leader. Virginia Thompson and Star Nouveau are third, just 1.3 penalties behind them.

Overnight leader Amanda Pottinger had two run-outs to drop her to 14th place, and Blyth Tait, who was in second, incurred 20 penalties at a combination on Leo Distinction.

Moving up from 9th after dressage to the shared lead was a surprise to Van Tuyl. “I had hoped I would move up a wee way, but never expected to be in this position. He was amazing; he is probably one of the youngest horses in the field. I hope that one second over time doesn’t annoy me forever more.”

There were also changes in the Honda New Zealand CCI** Young Rider championship. Tayla Mason is now the leader with a cracking clear round on Lucy with Diamonds. Sarah Young on SS Galaxy incurred some time faults, but are just in front of Canterbury rider Cam Robertson on Black, Ink who impressed with their jumping today.

The Veterinary Associations CCI* leaderboard did not change after the cross country. Aleisha Collett and Mi Focus have a narrow lead over Ashleigh Mckinstry on Ngahiwi Makem and Donna Smith on SE Godswalk. There is only one fault separating all three, so there is no room for error in tomorrow’s showjumping.

North Canterbury's Cam Robertson on Black Ink.
North Canterbury’s Cam Robertson on Black Ink. Photo: Jane Thompson

The DEVI Heating Systems CCI* Junior Rider leader after dressage also kept her lead over the field. Abigail Long on BMW Advokaat flew around to the point, as did most of the field. It will be all up to the showjumping phase and any rails will be costly.

Results after Dressage and Cross Country:

Honda New Zealand CCI***
Clarke Johnstone, Balmoral Sensation – 39
Donna Smith, Tangalooma – 49.4
Fraser King, Nadal KSNZ – 61.6
Nick Gauntlett, El Grado – 62.4
Emily Cammock, Dambala – 69.2

Cato Packaging CCI**
Diane Gilder, Your Attorney – 55.4
Katharine Van Tuyl, Double J Sunshine – 55.4
Virginia Thompson, Star Nouveau – 56.7
Megan Finlayson, Greensleeves – 59.7
Kate Disley, Arctic Cielo – 64.2

Donna Smith, Clarke Johnstone, centre,  and Fraser King at the press conference.
Donna Smith, Clarke Johnstone, centre, and Fraser King at the press conference.  Photo: Jane Thomspson

Honda New Zealand CCI** Young Rider
Tayla Mason, Lucy with Diamonds – 61.2
Sarah Young, SS Galaxy – 64.3
Cam Robertson, Black Ink – 66.9
Madison Crowe, Brogan – 75.4

Veterinary Associates CCI*
Aleisha Collett, Mi Focus – 53.4
Ashleigh Mckinstry, Ngahiwi Makem – 53.7
Donna Smith, SE Godswalk – 54.4
Abby Lawrence, Song – 54.7

DEVI Heating Systems CCI* Junior Rider
Abigail Long, BMW Advokaat – 57.5
Jackson Bovill, Visionnaire – 61.2
Zoe Ander, Waitangi Slingshot – 61.6
Renee Faulkner, Rubinstar HH – 63.1

Horse & Pony CCN105
Jessica Woods, LV Elf – 26.7
Janine Hayde, Brentwood Toi Toi – 28
Stephanie Vervoort, X Factor – 28.9
Karla Hiestand, Westamour 29.4



Jane Thompson

Jane has always had a keen interest in horses, and was an active competitor in equestrian events from her early days until the late 1980s. » Read Jane's profile

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