Krajewski, a renowned superstar performer in the dressage phase with Chipmunk FRH, did not disappoint the electric atmosphere in Tryon Stadium that lapped up every moment of what at times looked like an exhibition performance.
The rider herself admitted she was close to tears, such was the horse’s brilliance in scoring 19.9 penalties, as defending champions Germany made an immediate statement of intent in their quest to capture the Mars, Inc. Eventing crown.
Afterwards Krajewski said, “Maybe something really good was going to happen today and he felt awesome during the test.He has done good dressage tests before, but to produce it in such an atmosphere on this day, the people went crazy. It is not a personal best – he has had scores of 19 something before – but it is not just push a button and get 19. With a horse like him that can really do it, it is all about the detail. I am so proud. I had to stop the tears when I finished the test. It is an amazing feeling.”
American rider Boyd Martin rose to the challenge on home soil with Tsetserleg to post a 27.1 score and lie second overnight.
Martin commented: I am very happy with him,” he said of the 11-year-old gelding. “It is only the second time he has done that test. He’s a good boy and just gets in there and does it.”
Piggy French led the British challenge on day one as they bid to reclaim the title they won in Kentucky eight years ago. With Quarrycrest Echo she scored 27.8 to finish the day in third.
“He is a really cool horse,” French said. “He’s still not the most experienced and there is still more to come from him, but he has got an amazing brain and so you can be quite brave. I always give it a good go. He had one mistake at the beginning as we cantered out of the first halt and it took a while to warm-up but on the whole I am delighted; he really gave his all.”
Eventing icons Blyth Tait and Andrew Hoy showed they had lost none of their world-class quality by holding top 10 placings overnight after New Zealander Tait – twice an Eventing World Champion – and Australian Hoy, a three-time Olympic Gold medalist, shone on Dassett Courage and Vassily de Lassos, respectively.
“I was thrilled to bits with him, to be honest,” Tait said. “My team mates told me to be brave, but when you are going out first for the team you want to post a solid score, and he did that.”
And Hoy added, “He (Vassily de Lassos) could not have done one step better. He is not the finished product, he is a long way from it, but his test was a personal best. I jokingly said on Wednesday night that I was going to ride for a sub-30 score!”
Britain’s first team rider Gemma Tattersall got the team off to a solid start scoring 32.4 and currently lies in 19th but their strength lies in the cross country.
Tattersall said; “I’m super happy with him, he did really well! He did all the movements and I thought he had a pretty clear round. One of the changes wasn’t perfect but apart from that he was pretty spot on. I think the dimensions for the course are not overly huge and there are a couple of tricky combinations but I think it is all there to be jumped. We have a really good partnership and loads of experience and I am excited to get out on the course and let him gallop up that final hill.”
Riding as an individual, Tina Cook and Billy The Red scored 29.1 to finish the first day in fifth.
Cook commented; “He’s done some fantastic work since he’s been out here and has been on great form. I felt I could have done the changes a bit better but I’m very self-critical. I’m really pleased with him and I think there’s a lot to come. He’s only 11 and he’s what makes me enjoy the sport, keep going and be part of this amazing team that is here is with us.”
In the team competition Germany are currently in Gold medal position, with Australia in Silver and France in Bronze. Greats Britain is close behind in fourth with everything to play for on the second day of dressage.