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Johnstone fourth at Badminton Horse Trials

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/05/2016

Olympic aspirant Clarke Johnstone is the leading New Zealander after the first half of field completed the dressage phase of the Badminton Horse Trials in England.

Riding Balmoral Sensation, Johnstone logged the fourth-best score of 40.8 penalty points among 38 riders.

Two other Kiwis are in the top 10 - fifth-placed Jesse Campbell (41.1 points, Kaapachino) and ninth-placed Jock Paget (45.2, Clifton Lush), the 2013 champion.

Veteran Blyth Tait is 17th on Bear Necessity while Megan Heath and Dan Jocelyn were near the tail of the field.

In-form German Michael Jung leads on La Biosthetique with 34.4 points. World No.1 ranked eventer Jung is seeking a "Grand Slam" of four-star wins this week, having tasted success at the Burghley Horse Trials and at last week's Kentucky Three-Day Event.

New Zealand's top-ranked riders will line up on the second day of the dressage on Friday, led by four-time Badminton winner Sir Mark Todd on Leonidas II.

Todd was the leading Kiwi at Kentucky in seventh place, lifting his world ranking to third.

Eleventh-ranked Tim Price and his 18th-ranked wife Jonelle are also to ride, along with Lucy Jackson.

New Zealand's eventers are seeking strong results to impress Olympic selectors.

Johnstone, who was part of the bronze-medal winning team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, is the fifth-ranked Kiwi on the world standings, narrowly ahead of the more accomplished Paget and Tait.

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