The competitive fires were lit today with riders bringing their ‘A game’ for the cross country phase at Sydney International Three Day-Event.

The weather provided clear blue skies for perfect viewing as the spectators gathered across the 5.8km of Mike Etherington-Smith’s magnificently designed cross-country course.

The Oceania Championship Australian Team combinations delivered stellar performances using the event as a preparation run ahead of the clash with New Zealand in Taupo from 10-12 May.

The Macarthur Automotive CCI4*-L, which is also an Olympic qualification event, saw Sam Lyle and Superclass move from 2nd to 1st place with a flawless cross country run.

“Superclass was great, we came out of the start box and saw a really nice distance to the first fence and just went with that and he jumped everything great. He put in an extra stride at 16C and was really honest for me but everything else came up exactly as I planned to ride it and I am super happy with him” said Sam of his leading ride.

Sam’s second ride BF Valour is now sitting in 3rd place after picking up 10.8 time penalties over the undulating course. 

“I made a quick snap decision to take an option coming out of the last water, not sure if I needed to or not, because he didn’t jump the duck that well and so that cost me a few time faults. He went great, he really helped me out at the first water jump, I am really happy with him, now we just look after them and see what happens tomorrow” explains Sam.

Oceania Senior Team reserve rider Annabel Armstrong and Quaprice round out the top three in the Macarthur Automotive CCI4*-L after adding just 6.8 time faults to their dressage score seeing them with sitting in 2nd with a total of 39.40.

The standings were given a shake up in Bates Saddles CCI4*-S with Shane Rose and Pumpkin moving into 1st place following cross country with no penalties to remain on their dressage score of 31.30.  “She was great! Today she was really good, I wanted to keep it pretty positive and started pretty fast and she was jumping really well, she was a bit keen a couples of times. She was really good, at the last water she got a little tired and had a spook in the water so we took an option just coming out, I thought she had jumped enough without testing her too much, really happy with her”

Olympian Stuart Tinney is currently sitting in 2nd place riding Celebration, and High Performance Next Squad rider Andrew Cooper and Oaks Onyx added 1.2 time faults to their dressage score moving them from 12th into 3rd.

Oceania Australian Team combination Emma Bishop and CP Issey Miyake retain their lead after cross in the Bates Saddles  CCN4* adding only 8.4 time faults to their dressage score. Jade Findlay and Oaks Cordelia, also on the Australian Oceania Team, are now in 2nd, with Simon Tainsh on Punching In a Dream in 3rd.

Competitors and spectators alike were full of praise for the new initiatives that have been brought in to this year’s event. Event director Shane Rose said, “I am really, really happy with the way it’s gone. We have got a really awesome group of committee members that are going a great job. It’s been massive numbers they have put through today.

Mike Etherington-Smith has done an amazing job with the course. I thought they were a really good test for the level and fair, and those guys going to New Zealand would have had a really nice confidence boosting run for their horses that competed, so far couldn’t be any happier”.

For full results please visit: https://www.nominate.com.au/equest/nsw/results/SYD0419.htm