MELBOURNE-based Natalie Davies is a regular competitor at Camperdown Horse Trials.
Davies broke through for her maiden top class win at the annual competition on Sunday.
She had collected wins in other classes on visits to the Lakes and Craters course but her CIC three-star triumph with her mount El Grado was her first at Camperdown in the top grade. Davies was fourth after dressage but solid efforts in the cross country and showjumping phases resulted in her finishing on 81.50 penalties, well clear of Lucy Yeomans on RSB Bluejay in second with 92.60 and former Olympian Amanda Ross and William Wordsworth in third with 97.10.
That trio was among 200 riders to contest the trials.
Organiser Barry Roycroft said numbers were down on previous years.
“It was down about 50 on normal but we’re putting it down to clashing with Easter,” he said. “There is a fair bit of competition at Easter.”
Roycroft said the standard of competition was high and the course was well presented, despite a lack of rain.
“A lot of these riders are getting ready for the Melbourne International horse trials on the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June so it’s a stepping stone for them,” he said.
“There was quite strong competition from Warrnambool, Camperdown, one from Timboon, one from Boorcan. They put in good performances, encouraging performances. We hadn’t had enough rain but there was enough for a green tinge.
“The cross country is always the most popular — riders get to ride at a fast speed on undulating country across fences.” Roycroft will fly to Japan today to help its team prepare for the Asian games in October.