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Sonja Johnson wins at BGC Quarries Wooroloo CNC

Sonja Johnson and Misty Isle Vaneltino, winners of the CNC3* at Sonja Johnson wins at Wooroloo CNC (Perth Horse Trials) - © Linda Leadbetter

Sonja Johnson and Misty Isle Vaneltino, winners of the CNC3* at Wooroloo CNC (Perth Horse Trials).

© Linda Leadbetter


WA Olympian Sonja Johnson capitalised on a “training” run to win the headline CNC3* class at BGC Quarries Wooroloo 1 (12-13 May) with Misty Isle Valentino. “We’ve only just returned from Sydney three day but we had a few time penalties there as he was quite argumentative,” explained Sonja, who is based on the family farm near Albany.  “I wouldn’t normally run him again so soon but I wanted to try out a new bit that was recommended by Jade Finlay and I was really, really pleased because he was much more respectful here and softly accepting of me telling him where to go.”

Sonja was full of praise for Wayne Copping’s undulating cross country track: “There were some really good questions and lots of turning combinations which pleased me as thats just what I wanted to test with the new bit.” An exceptionally warm and dry autumn meant that organisers were forced to water the show jumping ring and Sonja also commended their “amazing” efforts, noting that the cross country ground felt “wonderful” in the sections which had been aerated. Riders also enjoyed their first dip in Wooroloo’s new $10,000 cross country water complex, which was completed thanks to generous sponsorship of materials from BGC Quarries.

Sonja was pushed all the way in the three star by Belinda Isbister and the classy off the track Thoroughbred, Here to Stay, who were so unlucky to knock out the final two elements of the tricky triple combination, the last fence in Ed Murphy’s influential show jumping track, which was cleverly positioned directly in front of the gathered crowd.


© Linda Leadbetter

Cindy Lyall capitalised on a rare clear show jumping round to top the BGC Quarries CNC2* - her off the track Thoroughbred GI Joe is so scopey he appears to hang in the air over the fences, costing her nine show jumping time penalties, but she still edged out Emily Gray (Rio Tonto) by more than four penalties. “He was really over jumping in the show jumping so its something we will go away and work on - cross country is his strength and he was the fastest horse out there (across country),” explained a delighted Cindy, who may take the 14 year old to Adelaide for the fourth time later in the year. “I’d love to do it again but its really up to him - he is the boss and he knows he’s special!”

Cindy’s 15 year old son, Zane, was also celebrating as part of the winning team in the inaugural Wooroloo Teams Challenge, sponsored by Winteringham Recruitment. His third placing in the Horseland Midland EvA95J section with Shannae Lowings’ Venture Sky High was combined with scores from Emily Gray (Rio Tonto), Mikayla Wood (5th in EvA105 with Mistwood Raffles) and CNC1* winner Jess Keeble Jenkins, to give their “Team 4” the winners’ rugs.

Paramedical science student Jess Keeble Jenkins was thankful for the balmy autumn conditions in the Perth Hills, where temperatures reached the mid 30s over the weekend. “Hard Target (‘Alvin') can be tense in the dressage but we were lucky it was warm,” explained Jess, who rose from seventh place after dressage in the Bates Saddles CNC1* thanks to the only clear inside the time across country. “He’s a cross country machine with a heart of gold - this is one of my favourite events because its always a challenging cross country course and you can’t afford to go out there feeling too relaxed.” The 20 year old from Wanneroo puts huge value on the welfare of her horses and has recently completed an equine Bowen therapy course. “They give me everything so I think I should repay them by making them feel as comfortable as possible,” added the Edith Cowan University student.


© Linda Leadbetter

One of the youngest winners of the weekend was 13 year old Olivia Ruiz and the smart TB x Riding Pony, Holland Park Riviera. The stylish pair caught the eye en route to victory in the Dark Selections EvA80J on their first visit to the Wooroloo Prison Farm. “I’m really chuffed to win here as it was new surroundings for both of us. ‘River' can be cheeky but he’s also talented,” explained the Perth College student who has also keen to thank her coach, Philippa Collier, and her supportive parents. Many competitors at Wooroloo were also thankful for Olivia’s mum, Angela, who spent the whole weekend keeping everyone well fed working as a volunteer in the Perth Horse Trials canteen!

The next event at Wooroloo Prison Farm will be Wooroloo International Three Day Event (17-20 August 2018).

Source: Event press release




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