Olympic equestrian silver medallist Sonja Johnson has won the Sydney International Horse Trials with her thoroughbred Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, giving the West Australian confidence as she strives to make the team for the Rio Games.
Johnson and Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison incurred four penalties in Sunday's jumping phase, but their strong dressage and outstanding cross country performances meant they emerged clear leaders on 48.90 penalties in the CCI3*.
She also took out third place on Misty Isle Valentino, dropping from second after a challenging jumping phase saw the pair incur 16 penalties and three time penalties to end on 68.90 penalties.
"The last time I won this competition, we went onto Beijing and Australia won a silver medal. So mum thinks it's an omen," said Johnson who is aiming for her second Olympics.
"I don't think I've done my chances (of making the team) any harm this weekend. Both horses were awesome cross country, Misty Isle Valentino was a little green today but Illicit Liaison was his normal gorgeous self, it was unfortunate that we had the one rail down."
Second place went to Hazel Shannon and her thoroughbred Clifford who put together consistent performances across all three phases to finish the event on 54.10 penalties.
Shannon and Clifford are going from strength to strength since first competing as a combination in 2011, and have an exciting future ahead.
Shane Rose was riding Virgil and won the CIC3* with an outstanding jumping display which resulted in a clear round and ensured the combination held their top spot on 46.90 penalties.
Rose also took out second place on CP Qualified.
Knocking one early rail, the pair added four jumping penalties as well as two time faults to finish on 57.00. Judy Clarke and Diablito were third on 59.90 after incurring no jumping penalties and five time faults.