Balmoral Sensation has proved to be quite the sensation during the dressage phase of the Puhinui 3 Day Event, held today in Manukau. The second ride in the advanced class (CCI***) for Donna Smith, this exciting young horse has shown just how good he is by taking an 8.6 point lead.

South Islander, Annabel Wigley, also riding her second horse NRM Frog Rock, is in second place, just in front of veteran Bryce Newman on Bates Trademark. Donna on her other horse, Just Chocolate is in fourth place, with Ashleigh Mckinstry in 5th.

However, in eventing, it’s not over until the end of the showjumping phase on the third day, and with less than 20 points between the highest and lowest placed horse after the dressage, it still could be anyone’s competition.

While the weather was an improvement on the previous day’s appalling conditions, the cold, windy conditions were not ideal for dressage. The rain held off for the competitors in the CCI***, but no so for the other classes who all got a drenching at various times during the competition.

Helensville’s Shelley Ross on Coleraine Coaltown is leading the Honda New Zealand CCI** from another South Islander, Sam Taylor. Georgia Dufty is in third, with a tie for fourth between Angela Lloyd and Amanda Pottinger.

In the Veterinary Associates CCI*, international eventer Clarke Johnstone on Vincent is leading the field from Chloe Kennedy with another tie for third between Fraser King and Sarah Young. Kate Wood is next best placed.

Saturday’s cross country day is all-important, and the Tich Massey built course promises to test the horses and riders. It’s an early start for some as the lower graded combinations get underway at 9 in the morning.

The CCI*** cross country will start at just after noon and the 12 competitors should be finished by about 1pm but cross country action in other classes does continue throughout the day, with the last rider expected to be on the course about 4pm. To encourage spectators, entry to the event is free and we’re hoping for some good weather!

Daily results can be found here.