Great Britain sit in Gold medal position following a day of world class cross country action and shocks.
Whilst many of the competitions favourites dropped out of contention, the British riders held their nerve, with all four riders coming home clear, and inside the time, with the team remaining on their first phase score of 80.8, taking a 9.2 penalty advantage into the show jumping.
First to go under the orders of the cross country starter was Gemma Tattersall and The Soul Syndicate’s 15 year old gelding Arctic Soul, who put in the perfect pathfinding round to come home inside the time for the team. Remaining on their dressage score of 32.4, the cross country specialists made light work of the testing Championships cross country course, stopping the clock with time to spare, which moves them up 28 places to 18th.
A delighted Gemma said; “I got the job done and achieved what I came for! He’s a machine over cross country and gave me an amazing ride. I went round at the second water on team orders which put me about ten seconds down but by the end of the hill, I was 15 seconds up- that’s how good he is. I was nervous this morning with all the expectations but I just thought ‘do what you normally do at home’ and of course he delivers.”
Next out for the team, Piggy French rode a brilliant round on Jayne McGivern’s 11 year old gelding Quarrycrest Echo to also post a clear round inside the time. Despite being down on the time and admitting she didn’t think she’d quite make the time, the combination added nothing to their dressage score of 27.8 penalties and head into the final show jumping phase in eighth place.
Commenting afterwards; “I’m so proud of my horse. He’s not a full thoroughbred and still inexperienced at this level but he fought all the way to the end. He’s felt amazing all year and is just fabulous. I was behind on my watch and thought I’d never make the time but he gave his all and cantered through the finish with his ears pricked.”
Individual rider Tina Cook enjoyed a great round on Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s Billy The Red; picking up just 2.4 time penalties, the duo had a clear jumping round to complete today’s phase on a score of 31.5 which puts them in 14th place.
Tina said; “When first we walked the course we thought it wasn’t too testing but the more you walked, the more you could see where there might be problems. He made me work today – he’s very fit. It’s been an up and down year with me breaking my shoulder so he’s not had the runs in preparation. I decided to go long at the second water at the risk of a few time penalties over 20 for a stop and just could get the time back. But I’m happy and he was a good boy today. The crowds were amazing – they cheered the whole way around.”
Tom McEwen left the start box as the third team rider and certainly impressed on his Senior Championships debut, keeping up the incredible streak of clear rounds inside the time for the GB team. With no penalties to include from the cross country phase, Tom and Jane Inns, Alison McEwen and his own Toledo de Kerser finished on a score of 28.4 to currently sit in 10th place.
Speaking afterwards, Tom said; “It was a strong course out there but I had a great ride and I’m glad I could show his potential. I was a bit down in the time but he picked up well up the hill. We had a game plan, stuck to it and so far it’s working for us.”
Anchor for the team, Ros Canter made it four team clear rounds inside the time and a one hundred percent clear rate for the entire British squad on her own and Caroline Moore’s Allstar B. With a score of 24.6 penalties, Ros will go in to the show jumping in the silver medal position,
“What a phenomenal horse! I couldn’t be prouder of him. I had to really push myself as everyone jokes calling me ‘Queen Slow’ so I guess I’m proud of myself too! Two years ago I struggled to get a clear at this level but now I’m at a World Championships. I had a fantastic ride out there; he cruised and galloped. Days like this are what we all dream of,” commented Ros.
As a result, all five British riders are now in the top 20.
Ireland were seventh after the dressage but finished the day in the silver medal position (89.0) with team rider Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound lying in Bronze medal position 26.3). Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky are in 7th finishing on their dressage score of 27.2. Sam Watson (Horseware Ardagh Highlight) and Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua) also came home clear.
Ennis commented: “I can’t believe we are actually here He (Horseware Stellor Rebound) finds it very easy and he’s very fast.”
France climbed from fourth to take the bronze medal position (91.8). Thibaut Vallette is their highest placed rider in fourth on Qing du Briot ENE HN.
After a record breaking performance in the dressage, Germany dropped to sixth with a score of 114.2. Their opening rider Kai Ruder accrued 17.2 time penalties with Colani Sunrise. whilst Andreas Dibowski added 13.2 time faults with FRH Corrida. It was overnight leader Krajewski who provided the biggest shock of the day when she had a run out at the third element of fence 14 with Chipmunk FRH, and dropped to 47th becoming the discard score for the team.
But it was not all doom and gloom for the German team as Ingrid Klimke holds the Gold medal position in the individual competition with SAP Hale Bob OLD (23.3). The had a superb clear round despite being temporarily held at the start.
He was just so full of himself today,” said the European 2017 individual gold medallist said. “He was very fast in the beginning, he really wanted to run. At the start we were stopped, Bobby wanted to leave. Since I was glad that Carmen and Hans were there and could distract him again. When he was finally allowed to leave, he was pretty wild. The small wobble on obstacle five was not bad so I could slow down a bit. Then he ran like a string. The jumping is still coming, the constitutional review is still to come, we do not know what the storm is with us. So I’m very grateful for what I have now. I know that Bobby is a good jumper.”
Refusals for both Chris Burton and Shane Rose dented Australia’s medal chances with the team currently in fifth.
New Zealand, one of the favourites for the team title alongside Germany, had a disastrous start to the day when Blyth Tait and Dassett Courage were eliminated for three refusals on course. Mark Todd had a refusal at the final element of fence 10 and also collected 17.6 time penalties. Both Tim and Jonelle produced clear rounds, double four star winner Jonelle being one of the quickest of the day with the team now lying in tenth. Tim is the highest placed New Zealander in sixth with Cekatinka.
Having been in the Bronze medal position after dressage, USA now lie in 8th.
Defending World champion Sandra Auffarth retired Viamant du Matz on course have a refusal at both the third and final element of fence 10.
The Mars, Inc. Eventing is now scheduled to conclude on Monday, September 17, due to inclement weather expected on Sunday, September 16.