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Melbourne International 3DE 11/06/99
By Di Gatehouse

London's Night Owl failed to live up to his stable name "Bumble" at the Melbourne International currently being staged at the National Equestrian Centre, Werribee Park. The local bred eight year old Thoroughbred and his well known rider Amanda Ross lead the event after the Dressage phase which was completed on Friday, June, 11.

London's Night Owl is the ex race horse Eastern Adventure and was purchased by Amanda off the track four years ago. Amanda's mother, Annie Sedgwick, is not too sure exactly how the brown gelding really got his name other than the fact he was purchased off the race track by Amanda just after the family had returned from living in London for a number of years. "I wasn't the night owl, perhaps Amanda was and I didn't know about it", joked Annie who is now seen around the Eventing traps promoting her successful business "Ten Minute Box".

Amanda and her "first" horse, Otto Schumaker, finished second to Victorian David Middleton in the South Pacific Championships staged in New Zealand recently. With Otto now enjoying a well  earned rest in the turn out paddock, "Bumbles" is enjoying the limelight at Werribee. Nick-named as such because of his ability to put his legs in any direction during his early period of training, London's Night Owl gave notice to his more famous stablemate, Otto, that he better keep his mind on the job in the future. "He is the quiet achiever", commented Annie as she watched other leading contenders go through the Dressage phase.

Amanda and London's Night Owl lead on 80 points after an even Dressage performance ahead of Shane Rose on Kianga who are on 84, New Zealander Jo Pederson on Heyerdahl who finished with 85 and Craig Barrett on Elusive Warlock who finished the day on 90. Breathing down their necks going into the cross country on Sunday, June 13, is Sammi McLoud riding Kibah Pinnacle who chalked up 91 points, Michael Hocking and Stargazer on 93. Heath Ryan and Overlander are on 94 while David Middleton on Number 10 and Olivia Bunn on the big grey GV Imagine are on 97.

Olympic gold medalist Gillian Rolton and Red Jarrah are on 112, which under the new penalty points system for the cross country is still well and truly in the hunt.  Red put in the perfect warm up under the eye of national coach Wayne Roycroft but in the ring on approaching the judges for the second time spotted the video camera and decided this was a spook' to be avoided, despite being perfectly used to cameras. "We will see what they (the judges) do to him but it won't be very nice", said Gillian after the big liver chestnut had finished an otherwise good test.

Heath could not wipe the grin off his face after leaving the ring. The assistant Aussie coach for the Olympics was happy with Overlander's performance, even though he knows there has to be an improvement for this experienced horse to have a chance for Sydney 2000. "As long as he gets better, that's fine", said Heath who was given Overlander to ride by Jo Brady.

As Heath explained Jo and Overlander grew up together, Jo starting the young Thoroughbred from scratch. The Melbourne International is his 12th 3 star event. "He is very consistent, he trots up sound every time. He is "Mr Consistent", said Heath who is competing in his fourth 3 star with Overlander. "I feel very fortunate to have be riding him, our best shot hasn't been seen yet", said Heath.

The three star horses get rest on Saturday (June 11) while competitors in the minor events tackle the cross country phase.