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Melbourne International 3DE 14/06/99
By Di Gatehouse

Christine MacLeod riding Masterprint maintained their overnight position to win the Melbourne Three Day Event staged at the National Equestrian Centre, Werribee. The event concluded with a fine display of horsemanship by Christine and her nearest rival Judy Clarke who was riding her hunter Smart Enough in his first three star event.

What the first two place getters had in common was that they rode their respective mounts through both a testing cross country and showjumping course with what looked like relative ease. The other thing in common was that neither are on a short or long list for Sydney 2000. But after the cold bucket of water that Irish judge Jean Mitchell threw on some of riders
performances during this event, maybe both Christine and Jayne should be.

Out of 46 starters in the three star, 21 horses were eliminated. Two were withdrawn after the dressage, two after the steeplechase, 15 were eliminated in the cross country and two withdrawn at Vet inspection before the show jumping. "It happened all over the course", said Jean in regard to the number of falls that saw the large number of horses and riders walk home. "There was no real excuse, it was due to bad riding", she concluded. Jean is a leading European judge and the director of the famous Punchestown and Necarne Castle Events.

While a remark like this might cause a bit of fuss and fuming from riders, the reality is that many of the contestants that have Olympic circles under their eyes should perhaps take a deep breath before the forthcoming Sydney and Adelaide events. In the show jumping some horses indicated that they were tired or still a little on the green side but there was also an alarming amount of bad judgement. The showjumping was held on the indoor arena which gave every horse even ground but the end result was that only two combinations got through without time or jump penalties and spectators had a long wait for it to come. The course was an indication of what will be expected from now until the Olympics.

Tasha Hammond riding Fuzzy Logic got a clear round with result she improved her standing from 11 to eight. Heath Ryan and Overlander had a one fence advantage over Tasha and Fuzzy Logic but finished by dropping three rails and chalking up seven time penalties. He was followed by Gordon Bishop on Pick of the Pack and Craig Barrett riding Elusive Warlock but both put themselves out of contention.

After the cross country there was little separating the third, fourth, fifth and sixth riders and at number six Shane Rose, now an experienced international competitor, cleared the course even though he shaved the paint on two jumps. He finished with no time penalties which elevated he and Wayfarer into a temporary lead.

At fifth position David Middleton needed a top performance by his improver, an ex race horse called Number 10. But Number 10 looked tired and chopped a lot of wood, knocking down eight rails and collecting another eight penalty points in the process which sent him back to the 13th place.

Judy and Smart Enough then came into the arena and in a calm and unfussed performance finished clear but picked up a single time penalty but took the lead. Amanda Ross, who led after the dressage but lost time in the cross country after a fall onthe flat, was in 3rd place and considering the average performance of most of the field, a clear round would have put her well back into contention. However like Number 10, her horse London's Night Owl gave a performance that indicated he would rather not be there. After 15 jump penalties and a time fault she dropped to 5th place.

All eyes were now on Prue Craig and Wendala Jackamin. Prue is a former winner of this event and she and Wendala Jackamin an experienced combination. She had two fences in hand but finished by dislodging two and picking up two time penalties.

Coming into the ring Christine had three fences in hand and looked as though she wasn't going to spend any of them as Masterprint jumped steadily and it was not until the last jump in the third treble that he tipped the rail off. He clipped another but was across the finishing line without further penalty giving Christine her first 3 star win.

Christine is originally from Perth and has crossed the Nullaboor Desert twice to contest events on the eastern sea board. Masterprint was an untried race horse because as a two year old proved he could not gallop. Christine later purchased him from showjumper Sharon Scott. While he was supposed to be a bit of a bucker Christine said that he showed no inclination to do so from the first time she got on him.

After performing well in the l995 Melbourne International Masterprint's career was interrupted by a hoof tumour from which he has now recovered. He recuperated in Western Australia and then Christine and partner Gary White returned to the eastern states with Masterprint and another horse Mastercopy. They opted to stay and worked with Craig and Prue Barrett at Lochinvar before moving to Sydney where they both now work for race trainer Matthew Bates at his Hawkesbury stables. Christine fits her eventing in between the demands of her job as foreman. "Which means getting up a three o'clock every morning", she quipped.

For Judy Clarke her finish was a dream come true. Her horse, which she bought as a 2 year old eight years ago, carries her prefix Smart and while she has other horses on her property near Camden, NSW, Smart Enough is very much her horse and she has hunted him regularly with the Sydney Hunt Club, although the pair have not been out this season.

Originally from Hamilton, New Zealand, Judy did not take riding all that seriously. "I only hooned then", she joked.Judy is a mother of four children ageing between 26 and 11. On the trip to Melbourne she was accompanied by her younger son Jeremy who hopes to follow his mother one day but at the moment said he was happy just hunting his pony.

Shane and Wayfarer finished in third place one point behind Judy.

The CCI one star was won by Clayton Fredericks riding Sampson who is owned by Megan Jones from South Australia. Clayton is on a flying visit and left for Perth early today for his grandmother's 75th birthday. Clayton is based in the UK. His English wife Lucinda is one of UK's leading riders.

The two star was won by Sonja Johnson on Just a Partner after Shane Rose and Wynella Rialto knocked a couple of jumps down.