Johnson and Ross lead the Melbourne International CCI3*

TWO riders who have enjoyed great success at the Warwick Horse Trials complex at Morgan Park lead the Melbourne International CCI three-star event after the first day of competition.

Olympic silver medallist Sonja Johnson, a World Cup qualifier winner in Warwick, leads the Melbourne CCI3* after Saturday's dressage phase at Werribee Park, from Olympic gold medallist and past Warwick event winner Stuart Tinney.

West Australian rider Johnson has made the 4-hour trip to Melbourne in a bid to impress selectors ahead of team selection for the upcoming World Equestrian Games which begin just more than 70 days from now.

With her chestnut thoroughbred Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, Johnson was cool and calm in the dressage arena, receiving a score of 44.60 from the judges.

It gives her a slender lead over Tinney and his grey gelding Pluto Mio who are in second place after they were awarded a score of 46.01.

Fellow Olympian Amanda Ross and her mount William Wordsworth are in third after they received a score of 46.40.

Although she has the early advantage, the day didn't all go according to plan for Johnson. Her second horse Belfast Mojito had an unsettling moment in the arena and finished down the order.

"The little chestnut (Illicit Liaison) knows his job which is the difference between him and Mojito. He (Mojito) thought that eventing was about entertainment so he decided to entertain," Johnson said. 

With sunshine making way for heavy rain, competitors braved the elements at Werribee with many, including Tinney, receiving a drenching.

The Melbourne International Horse Trials continues Sunday where riders will take to the cross country ahead of Monday's deciding show jumping phase.

The Warwick Horse Trials Club is gearing up for its one-day event which will be held over two days on June 21-22 at Morgan Park.

Suspension lifted

ONE of the riders who often competes on up to 10 horses at Warwick Horse Trials Events is set to return to competition after the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) lifted his provisional suspension.

The FEI has issued a statement with regards to the suspension of Australian event rider Kevin McNab who has competed at Warwick since the cross country course was built.

It relates to an FEI tribunal hearing that McNab attended earlier this week in relation to his suspension from competition in late 2013 after Clifton Pinot, ridden by McNab at the 2013 Burghley International Horse Trials, tested positive for the banned substance Reserpine.

FEI Statement:

The FEI Tribunal has lifted the provisional suspensions of Jonathan Paget (NZL) and Kevin McNab (AUS) with immediate effect.

The two athletes had been provisionally suspended following positive tests on their horses, Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot, for the banned substance Reserpine at Burghley (GBR) in September 2013.

The decision follows a specific request from the two athletes for the lifting of the provisional suspensions. The request was made during a two-day hearing before the FEI Tribunal in London (GBR) on 3 and 4 June.

The lifting of the provisional suspensions is a preliminary decision. The FEI Tribunal's Final Decision in both cases will be issued at a later date.

Equestrian Australia (EA) has fully adopted and endorses the FEI Clean Sport and ASADA anti-doping policies and procedures and supports the process undertaken by the FEI in reaching this decision.

Topics:  warwick horse trials

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