Wendy Schaeffer won the year’s final four-star, the Australian International 3-Day Event at Adelaide, last week.

Wendy and Koyuna Sun Dancer were third after cross-country, but her clear round in the showjumping allowed her to move ahead of overnight leader Emma Mason (F1 Pharinelli), whose 20 faults left her sixth.

Stuart Tinney, last year’s winner on Vettori and this time riding Watermark Grayson, was second after cross-country but had 12 faults for fifth.

Wendy also finished third on Koyuna Sun Shine, with 2008 Adelaide winners Christopher Burton and Newsprint second. Christopher and Stuart were the only riders inside the time on Wayne Copping’s cross-country track.

This was 36-year-old Wendy’s second win at Adelaide — she also triumphed in 2002. She is one of the leading Australia-based eventers and lives locally to the event, in the Adelaide Hills near Hahndorf. Wendy won team gold at the Olympics in 1996.

Wendy’s winning ride, the 11-year-old gelding Koyuna Sun Dancer was bred by Howard and Darren Clark of Koyuna Stud and bought by Wendy in early 2001. He is by the thoroughbred Brilliant Invader, who sired Blyth Tait’s 1996 Olympic champion Ready Teddy.

Koyuna Sun Dancer was third at Adelaide in 2008, when Koyuna Sun Shine, third this time, finished fourth. Koyuna Sun Shine, an 11-year-old chestnut mare, is also by Brilliant Invader.

Nineteen four-star starters

After a surge of entries at Adelaide last year when there were 31 four-star starters and 110 across the three classes (CCI****, CIC** and CCI**), it was back to more typical numbers this time, with 19 four-star competitors and 88 in total. In 2008 there were 19 four-star starters and 80 in total.

This event has long been beset by financial problems and been the lesser four-star in terms of both number and quality of riders.

But event director Gillian Rolton said: “The Australian International 3-Day Event has continued to prove itself as one of the world’s greatest equestrian events, with spectators treated to world-class riding over three, action-packed days.

“The weather was definitely on our side this year, making for comfortable conditions for both horse and rider to perform at a world class standard and the events off the field were just as successful with guests enjoying the party atmosphere.”

The Australian International 3-Day Event has a unique setting, taking place in parklands in the centre of Adelaide, with several roads closed so that horses can cross them on cross-country day (pictured).

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