Clarke Johnstone made it three wins from three starts on Balmoral Sensation to take out the ESNZ Eventing Super League which concluded at the NRM National Three-day Event at Taupo over the weekend.
Johnstone bought the well performed horse from Donna Smith early this year, and has won the three big events of the autumn season, having formed a successful partnership with the horse in a short space of time.
Johnstone, a team bronze medalist at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, returned from England at the end of last year and is now based in the Waikato, putting a strong team of horses together. Balmoral Sensation is looking like an international star of the future. They are now qualified for 4* (the highest level) after winning the Eventer of the Year CIC3* title at the NRM Horse of the Year Show in March, the BNZ CIC3* at Kihikihi in April, and taking the top title in the NRM CCI3* class at the National Three-day Event.
Kelsey Rothery and The Felon jumped from sixth position in the League to take second place after finishing third at Taupo, having also had good placings at Kihikihi and Puhinui. Dannie Lodder, who held the lead on Petra Eatson’s Moochi at the halfway stage after the Puhinui Three-day Event in December, but has not added to her tally this autumn, held on for third place, despite not contesting the top class at Taupo.
Likewise, last year’s Super League winner, Simon Gordon and Fletch.com, who held third place before the Taupo event, was a last minute scratching, and was relegated to fourth as a consequence, with Angela Lloyd and Song unable to overtake them despite closing the gap to half a point. Canterbury veterinarian Sam Taylor did not compete at Taupo but held sixth place with Leo Degas.
ESNZ EVENTING SUPER LEAGUE – Final result after 12 events:
Clarke Johnstone (Hamilton), Balmoral Sensation, 251 pts, 1: Kelsey Rothery (Cambridge), The Felon, 186.5 pts, 2; Dannie Lodder (Papakura), Moochi, 143.5 pts, 3; Simon Gordon (Karaka), Fletch.com, 136.5 pts, 4; Angela Lloyd (Hunua), Song, 136 pts, 5; Sam Taylor (Swanannoa), Leo Degas, 115 pts, 6.