Thoroughbreds were prominent in the results of the Kihikihi Horse Trials held over Easter weekend, once again demonstrating why it is such a versatile breed.
Both 3* classes were won by riders with thoroughbred mounts, with Calla Toyne taking out the Waipa Home Of Champions CCN3*-S on 15-year-old gelding Pick Up Line (Private Call x Magic Move) while the CCN3*-S+ was won by Clarke Johnstone on Aces High (Another Warrior x My Fairytale).
Johnstone, who represented New Zealand at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, purchased Aces High from Australia and was full of praise for the 11-year-old gelding.
“Aces High is by Another Warrior who has left a number of event horses,” Johnstone said.
“He is a beautiful horse, he is very elegant, has long legs and a beautiful shape of neck and face. He is pretty easy going and has a nice character. He is a lovely guy.”
Johnstone has had great success with his thoroughbred eventers including 4* mounts Orient Express (Blues Traveller), Incognito (Sporting Show) and Oakley Vision (Young Indian).
“I have had some great thoroughbreds,” he said. “I think they are pretty easy in a lot of ways in their temperament. They can be a little hotter than warmbloods but usually they are quite straight forward.
“When you find a nice one they are hard to go past.”
Johnstone is aiming Aces High at the Tokyo Olympics later this year and will head to Sydney aiming to solidify his chances of securing a spot in the eventing team.
“Aces High is on the Olympic long list and we are planning to do the Sydney three-day event in May which will be an important selection event for the Olympics,” Johnstone said.
Thoroughbreds also finished 1-2 in the Prestige CCN2*-S Restricted with Lara Butler Gallie and 17-year-old Istacruiz (Istidaad) finishing ahead of Scout Lodder on Money Shot (Perfectly Ready).
“It is great to not only see thoroughbreds out competing as top-level eventers, but winning too,” New Zealand Thoroughbred CEO Justine Sclater said. “These horses are great advocates for the breed and I think it is important to celebrate their success outside of racing as much as we do on the track.” -Amie Best, NZTBA