Tim Clarke produced an almost faultless round to clinch a series-levelling win in the Trans Tasman Equestrian series.GRASSMERE’S Tim Clarke is the toast of the nation after securing victory for Australia in the final round of the Trans Tasman Equestrian series in New Zealand.
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Clarke and his mare Caltango clinched a series-levelling round win in Hastings after a near-perfect ending.

As the final competitor to face the daunting course a second time, Clarke knew he had to complete it with no more than one rail down to seal an Australian triumph for him and his teammates, Brett Warren, Brook Dobbin and Evie Buller.

“If I had two we might have been in trouble,” Clarke said. But he completed the course with just one down, which gave the Australians a one-fault victory.

“We are very pleased with ourselves,” Clarke said from Cambridge yesterday.

“When you represent your country you want to do well. I’m very happy with the win.”

Clarke said his initial reaction was relief he had capped off a great team.

“I was bloody happy … I enjoyed it,” he enthused.

The trip, which included two rounds of the Trans Tasman series and individual events at New Zealand’s biggest shows, was a success, Clarke said, despite Australia being defeated in the opening round of the series.

He and Caltango were sixth in a lead-up event, the Norwood Cup, last week before the weekend’s climax to the Trans Tasman round.

He was equal third with Buller in the final round and then backed up with an equal seventh in New Zealand’s biggest event, the Olympic Cup held during the Horse of the Year Show.

The 30-year-old said the experience had inspired him to look for more international competition but ruled out an Olympics campaign.

“I have to think about my mare. I don’t want to burn her out. I want to consolidate her at this level first.”

The nine-year-old would be 13 and at her peak in four years’ time, Clarke said.

After a hectic domestic summer, Clarke will round out his season with a competition in Mount Gambier at Easter and a World Cup event in Sydney later next month.

The Australian team’s Chef d’Equipe Vicki Roycroft was delighted with the winning finish to the Trans Tasman series.

“Our team was very consistent, which is what won us the class,” she said.

“Eight faults was our worst score in each round which is a great result across the board.

“This was a very good team.New Zealand is extremely hard to beat on their own turf but our guys were tough and consistent. I am very happy with them all.”

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