Just before the start of dressage, I spent some time trying to identify which horse/rider pairs would be at the top of the standings following the dressage phase. I ultimately identified 25 riders and it included Oiwa Yoshiaki, Stefano Brecciaroli and Mark Todd.
The top 25 after dressage are as follows:
|1||70||OIWA Yoshiaki||NOONDAY DE CONDE||38.10||+|
|2||61||BRECCIAROLI Stefano||APOLLO WD WENDI KURT HOEV||38.50||+|
|=4||33||KLIMKE Ingrid||BUTTS ABRAXXAS||39.30||+|
|=4||41||ALGOTSSON OSTHOLT Sara||WEGA||39.30||+|
|6||18||SCHRADE Dirk||KING ARTUS||39.80||+|
|=7||47||FREDERICKS Lucinda||FLYING FINISH||40.00||+|
|=7||49||AUFFARTH Sandra||OPGUN LOUVO||40.00||+|
|=7||68||DONCKERS Karin||GAZELLE DE LA BRASSERIE||40.00||+|
|12||24||KING Mary||IMPERIAL CAVALIER||40.90||+|
|14||56||COOK Kristina||MINERS FROLIC||42.00||+|
|=17||26||PAGET Jonathan||CLIFTON PROMISE||44.10||+|
|19||62||DUTTON Phillip||MYSTERY WHISPER||44.30||+|
|20||48||SCHAULY Donatien||OCARINA DU CHANOIS||44.40||+|
|22||57||LINDBACK Niklas||MISTER POOH||45.20||+|
|23||16||GRIFFITHS Sam||HAPPY TIMES||45.40||+|
|=24||2||BURTON Christopher||HP LEILANI||46.10||+|
|=24||40||PHILLIPS Zara||HIGH KINGDOM||46.10|
While I manage to correctly 20 of the top 25, there were a couple of surprises. Namely, Andrew Hoy (though, he only barely got cut from my original list) as well as Ludvick Svennerstal, Jonathan Paget, Donatien Schauly and Sam Griffiths. I thought these riders would be just outside the top 25, but they all put in very competitive tests.
My biggest disappointment over the two days was Lenamore’s score. I am a huge fan, and was really hoping this 19 year-old veteran would school the youngsters. Michael Jung’s score was also a disappointment – though I’m sure his fellow competitors were feeling a bit gleeful. The 33 he earned at WEG made him really difficult to catch.
On the other hand, Hawley Bennett and Gin & Juice really showed up and delivered an impressive performance. I got some flack after my earlier post for not including any Canadians. It isn’t that I forgot, or that I don’t believe we have some hugely talented pairs. It’s just that dressage is not their strongest phase – the Canadians will make up ground today on cross country. Jessica Phoenix with Exponential and Rebecca Howard with Riddle Master also excelled under pressure today. Jessie, in particular, chose a great time to ride Tucker to a personal best at the 4* level.
Finally, because I’m a bit of a Mary King fan – I have to point out that Imperial Cavalier kept his cool and also delivered a personal best of 40.90. She is the top placed Brit after dressage.
I expect that we’ll see a lot of movement in the top placings today – particular as the time looks to be hard to meet. The same thing happened in 2008 when Hinrich Rmeike won after adding 12.8 in time penalties to his score (as well as 4 jump faults during show jumping). The twisty/hilly nature of the course makes it very tough to predict how things will go and how many specific time faults each horse will earn. Instead, I’ll address a few of the top placed pairs and then pick my Top 15 based largely on gut instinct and historical markers. Of course, the wonderful thing about cross country day is that historical indicators can matter very very little.
Of the top 3, I think only Mark Todd will be in the mix for individual gold after cross country. While I think that Oiwa and Brecciaroli will jump clean, they will likely incur significant time faults. Oiwa’s Noonday de Conde has never run a 4* and only stepped up to the 3* level last year. Oiwa will likely opt to take it a bit slow rather than risk incurring costly jumping faults. I think that Brecciaroli will also jump around the course without issue – his horse has never had a jumping fault on XC in FEI events – but he will also incur a number of time penalties. This pair had 15.2 at WEG and 9.2 at the European Championships where the time was not nearly as illusive as I suspect it will be today
As for Campino, if it was anyone other than Mark Todd, I’d have concerns about not only time penalties but jumping ones too. Campino is fairly inexperienced and in his last 5 outings at the 3* level, he has had two stops and an elimination. Though, I understand the elimination to have been of the technical variety. I think Campino will jump around tomorrow, and have only a few time faults. Toddy isn’t a legend for nothing!
As for the Top 15 after cross country – I think the following pairs will be in the mix:
– Mark Todd & Campino
– Sara Algotsson Ostholt & Wega
– Dirk Schrade & King Artus
– Sandra Auffarth & Opgun Louvo
– Clayton Fredericks & Bendigo
– Michael Jung & Sam
– Mary King & Imperial Cavalier
– Tina Cook & Miner’s Frolic
– William Fox-Pitt & Lionheart
– Jonathan Paget & Clifton Promise
– Karen O’Connor & Mr. Medicott
– Hawley Bennett & Gin & Juice
– Andrew Nicholson & Nereo
– Phillip Dutton & Mystery Whisper
– Chris Burton & HP Leilani
I’m also expecting great things from the Canadian Team!