22 Aug 2011

Johnstone crowned eventing champ

8:40 am on 22 August 2011

New Zealand equestrian Clarke Johnstone has been crowned the FEI World Cup champion after the 24-year-old finished sixth at Le Grand Complete in France, the seventh and final round of the series.

The UK based rider from the Waikato is the first to New Zealander to win the prestigious competition.

Compatriot Mark Todd was eighth.

Johnstone, aboard Orient Express, finished four points clear of good friend Australian Chris Burton in the series points.

Just one of the 34 combinations to make it through to the showjumping went clear, with Johnstone taking three rails and Todd two.

Johnstone, who was part of the bronze medal-winning team at the World Champs in Kentucky last year, ranks this as his most important win.

Going into the event he didn't think he could be beaten, but it was never a given until prize giving, where he was also presented a trophy as the youngest competitor.

The series victory also netted Johnstone 30,000 Euro ($NZ 52,750) in prize money.