Riding Vettori, Stuart was 14th after dressage. But he put in the second quickest cross-country round to lead going into the show jumping.
Megan Jones was just 0.3pen behind Stuart overnight with Kirby Park Allofasudden, but she lowered a rail and Stuart jumped clear to secure the title.
Stuart said: “I would have preferred a greater margin going into the final stage. It’s too stressful to win this way. He [Vettori] is a wonderful horse and I got my act together and concentrated pretty well.
“I am very glad to have taken out [won] the event because I have finished second in previous years.”
Megan finished second with Kirby Park Allofasudden, also runner-up in 2008. She was also third on her 2008 Olympic team silver medallist Kirby Park Irish Jester, who led the dressage but incurred 20 jumping penalties across country.
About the winners
Stuart Tinney, 44, is based in New South Wales and is one of the most successful Australian eventers based “down under”. He won an Olympic team gold medal at the Sydney Games in 2000 on Jeepster.
The 13-year-old New Zealand warmblood Vettori has previously finished fifth (2005) and second (2006) at Adelaide. Stuart brought him to Badminton in 2008 (pictured above) in a bid to qualify for the Olympics, but he had a rider fall the Outlander Bank (click here for sequence pictures). They re-routed to Luhmühlen, finishing third.
There were doubts in May about whether the Southern Hemisphere’s four-star would run this year due to finance problems, but the event was saved by donations from riders and eventing enthusiasts.
The organisers were rewarded with record entries — 110 across the three classes (CCI****, CCI** and CIC**), up from 80 last year.
There were 31 starters in the four-star (compared to 19 last year) — only six less than at Pau and five less than Luhmühlen, encouraging for an event which has traditionally been the lesser four-star in number and quality of riders.
Unseasonably hot weather meant the cross-country course was shortened from an optimum time of around 10min to 7min 51sec.
Event director Gillian Rolton said: “The big screens under the shade have been popular with spectators while horses and riders have also coped well with the temperatures and were happy with the organisers’ decision earlier this week to shorten the cross-country course.
“Although crowd numbers have been lower than anticipated [pre-event press releases expected 30,000 people], we’re thrilled that the grandstand sold out, corporate sales were 30% higher than last year and more than 16,000 people have braved the unseasonable weather to see their heroes in action.”
CCI*** FINAL RESULTS
1. Stuart Tinney on Vettori (AUS) 65.8
2. Megan Jones on Kirby Park Allofasudden (AUS) 70.1
3. Megan Jones on Kirby Park Irish Jester (AUS) 83.5
4. Amanda Howell on Koyuna Tora Bora (AUS) 84.2
5. Luke Jones on Soul (AUS) 87
6. Clarke Johnstone on Orient Express (NZL) 93.1