Two from two for Clarke >>

Two from two for Clarke >>
Kiwi World Games team bronze medalist Clarke Johnstone has stormed home to a fabulous win in the Australian round of the FEI World Cup Eventing series in Sydney this evening.

The 24-year-old from Matangi and his 12-year-old bay gelding Orient Express finished on their dressage score of 45.4 penalties, after a faultless showjumping round to finish the three day event.

But it came right down to the wire. Johnstone was sitting in second spot going into the showjumping, and when leader Shane Rose aboard Taurus took the first fence and then another, the crown was his for the taking.

“It was all pretty nerve-wracking,” says Johnstone. “We had given one jump a little rub and because I was so nervous it probably wasn't my most stylish jump ever!”

But it didn't matter – Johnstone and Orient Express were well deserved winners of the title. “In the dressage I missed one change but Blue (Orient Express) went really well, and then on the cross country he was just fantastic. It was fast and furious to get inside the time allowed – Sydney is very hilly and twisty.”

There weren't many combinations that did keep the time-keepers happy, but the Kiwi combo were one of them.
“We rode it last year and almost made the time so we knew what we had to do.”
Blue recovered beautifully after the cross country and went into the showjumping arena every bit the professional.

Defending champ Aussie Christopher Burton, who finished second to Johnstone in the last World Cup round in New Zealand, and Hostein Park Leilani had to settle for bridesmaid once again.

The win gives Johnstone an even greater lead in the World Cup series, after his victory and third placing in the Kihikihi round last month. The series ends in France in August and with only three results to count, Johnstone says he's pretty happy with where he is sitting.

“It is pretty fantastic really,” says Johnstone, who heads to England towards the end of the month to continue his bid for the London Olympics.

Alice Montgomery, Johnstone's groom at the World Equestrian Games, was 15th aboard her lovely horse Gordon, while Aussie based Kiwi Laura Wallace and Heelan Tompkins' Olympic horse Sugoi were 17th.


Australian Round of FEI World Cup Eventing: Clarke Johnstone (NZ) Orient Express 1, Christopher Burton (Aus) Holstein Park Leilani 2, Shane Rose (Aus) Taurus 3, Stuart Tinney (Aus) Vettori 4, Alice Montgomery (Christchurch) Gordon 15, Laura Wallace (Auckland) Sugoi 17.

Date Added: Monday, 9th May 2011
Link: Sydney Eventing Website