Germans Just Ahead of France In Rio

Mathieu Lemoine, Bart L, best test of the day fr France
Credit : Iconscoop

Sunday 07 August - 22h04 | Lulu Kyriacou

Germans Just Ahead of France In Rio

It was a day where no one could be quite sure who would be the overnight leader in the Olympic  Eventing after a series of good tests kept the scores tight and the leader board ever changing.   

 - Germans Just Ahead of France In Rio

Pippa Funnell, Billy The Biz
Credit : Iconscoop

After three riders had  completed their dressage tests, the French had taken a slender lead over Germany and Great Britain,  while the Irish have moved up to fourth place after Jonty Evan's excellent test on Cooleys Rourke's Drift. Australia  slipped down to sixth with Stuart Tinneys  somewhat  disappointing  score but the British were much encouraged when Pippa Funnell pulled off a  test which kept the British firmly in the hunt for the team gold  by scoring  43.9 on Billy the Biz but the French also gained some ground as Thibault Valette  scored 41.0 on Qing du Briot to move them above Britain at this early stage of the second day.

Funnell got visibly emotional after her test while talking to the journalists  about her ride and the sad death of long time friend and owner Carol Tolliver but remained up-beat about her Rio experience.
"I was really pleased with him as he was a bit of a village idiot outside. You always know he is fresh as he is squealing when you ask him to canter and there was a bit of that outside. It is easy to do too much with them in the heat but I was happy,  the changes were maybe a bit too relaxed but I am delighted he has put in a sloid performance because three years ago he didnt know a thing a about dressage and I only started doing it with him as a personal challenge. I am sure his owner , Carol Tolliver who sadly passed away before we got here, was looking down on us.  I am proud of him. The course is a big ask, it is a good track and I wouldnt mind sitting on one of my old campaigners, like Redesigned as this will be this horse's biggest test, its a meaty track. I think we are all going to have to ride with our heads, know all the long routes because it could be a tactical game tomorrow, as team and as an individual. I am going to ride him as the good horse I think he is and see what it throws up at me.  It was very emotional  getting the call up after my bad fall in the spring which put my best horse out, and then we were devated when the owner passed away she was only 56 and it hit me like a thunderbolt but I know she will be very proud. "  
France completed their dressage with an outstanding  test from Mathieu Lemoine and Bart L which joined the select sub 40 penalty group when scoring 39.2  which was the best mark of the day and  left the French team on 122.2, with all their riders well placed individually.   Shane Rose and his Adelaide winner CP Qualified bounced Australia back into contention with a 42.9 which left them on a team score of 126.4.
British rider Kitty King's horse broke in the medium trot and then her extended trot was rather tentative.  But after that King made up some ground until a mistake on her second change dropped  her average on Diana Bown's Ceylor LAN but 46.8 was not quite enough to dent the French and German lead.  Afterwards, King was philosophical about her performance.   "Disappointing, yes, but he just made some uncharacteristic mistakes. He is only nine so perhaps Tokyo is probably going to be the games for him.  He has been a solid performer all through his career,  and he has performed very nicely today. Tomorrow is a tough track and will be an eye opener for him, we will have to keep concentrating to the end."
Ingrid Klimke, last to go for Germany on Hale Bob rode an immaculate test to become only the fourth rider under the 40 penalty mark, her score of 39.5  putting the Germans back in  the lead but only by two tenths of a penalty.
Full results so far in the team contest are here

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