New Zealand’s Clarke Johnstone has won the CCI4* at Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event

‘Pretty wild’

Clarke led from the start, with Balmoral Sensation, who isn’t always the easiest of rides.

“He is always pretty wild before the cross-country,” said Clarke. “I could hardly control him at the first warm-­up, but once he  gets out of the start box he is completely focussed, 100%.

“He doesn’t notice anything at all except what is in front of him. I am really lucky to ride that horse.”

Many riders were obviously feeling the heat on the final day as poles fell, which saw a number of changes to the leaderboard. However, Clarke – who was New Zealand’s best placed team member at Rio 2016, finishing sixth individually – is used to keeping a cool head under pressure.

Great jumper

The 30-year old turned in a text book performance, jumping one of only two clears to be crowned the CCI4* champion.

“I always knew he was a great jumper and I am proud of what we have achieved over the last three days,” said Clarke.

Silver Olympic medalist Megan Jones was second, producing the other clear round with Kirby Park Impress. Stuart Tinney and War Hawk were third, despite knocking down two rails, after Sonja Johnson had three down and dropped to fifth with Misty Isle Valentino.

Andrew Cooper and Tasman Park Ovation moved up to fourth.

Catch some Aussie sunshine by watching Australian International Adelaide when it premieres on 29 November at 8pm on Sky 253 and online via H&C Play or Amazon Video. The programme will then be available to watch on Catch Up.