Thursday 2nd of July 2020

Europeans: Team GBR sit second behind hosts Germany heading into cross-country

Team GBR are in a strong position heading into the cross-country phase of competition at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships at Luhmühlen.

Great Britain is second behind hosts Germany, for whom Michael Jung and Ingrid Klimke top the individual standings.

Laura Collett, who led the field after day one of dressage with her own, Keith Scott and Karen Bartlett’s London 52, is now third. She’s joined by three other Team GBR riders in the top ten – Oliver Townend (7th), Kitty King (8th) and Tina Cook (9th).

Laura commented that competing as an individual might help ease the pressure tomorrow,

“I’ll be able to do my own thing and concentrate on my own horse”. She also revealed that she’ll be wearing her lucky gold horseshoe in the cross-country: “I was given it by a friend at a Junior competition years ago and I found it when I was getting packed for coming here the other day, so I’ll definitely be wearing it.”

Tina Cook on Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red was the first Team GBR rider to perform in the dressage arena on the second day of competition, and she posted a score of 28.3 to stand ninth after the dressage phase. Commenting afterwards, Tina said:

“[Billy The Red] has the potential to do a really amazing test. He was born sharp and bright, and you can’t take that out of him – for a little horse, he’s very elegant. I have to be so relaxed myself to make it seem as though we’re in the school at home and there are not thousands of people watching him.”

Kitty King, on Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats, is competing at Luhmühlen as an individual. She posted a score of 27.9 and lies eighth going into the cross-crountry phase.

“It’s probably the biggest atmosphere [Vendredi Biats] has been in and he coped really well,” she said after her test. “He may not be the finished article just yet but it’s exciting and there’s more to come. He’s just getting stronger and more mature.”

The anchor rider for Team GBR was Oliver Townend on Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class. He scored 27.6, putting him in seventh, and is looking forward to the cross-country phase on Saturday:

“It’s a proper course – beautifully designed and beautifully built. Sometimes, you get a gimmicky course where you feel they’re trying to catch your horse, where for me I prefer one where, if you’re on your line and your horse is 100% switched on and focussed, then you should do well.”

The cross-country phase begins at 10:00CET on Saturday 31 August. The Team GBR riders will begin their rounds at the following times:

10:32CET              Pippa Funnell – Majas Hope

11:48                     Piggy French – Quarrycrest Echo

12:24                     Laura Collett – London 52*

13:44                     Tina Cook – Billy The Red

14:04                     Kitty King – Vendredi Biats*

15:04                     Oliver Townend – Cooley Master Class

* denotes riding as an individual

Michael Jung (GER), who has smashed pretty much every record in the sport, has just put himself in line for another – a fourth European title on a fourth horse – having taken the lead at the end of the Dressage phase at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship in Luhmühlen (GER).

The double Olympic champion, who never gives away a mark if he can help it, has a great reputation for getting the best out of all sorts of horses. With his Luhmühlen ride fischerChipmunk FST, he has the added benefit of the 11-year-old by Contendro having been well established at top level by his former rider, Julia Krajewski (GER).

Jung’s outstanding score of 20.9 – despite a break of pace in the free walk – could not be bettered, even by defending champion Ingrid Klimke (GER), and the German team is now 16.8 penalties ahead of the 2017 winners, Great Britain, with a mere 68.9 penalties on the scoreboard.

“Chipmunk is a fantastic horse. He’s so intelligent and extremely well trained,” said Jung, who blamed himself for the mistake. “He has a lot of power and sometimes there’s a difficult balance between that and keeping him relaxed. Maybe I risked a little bit too much in the walk so he accidentally broke into trot. I nearly liked everything in the test today, just not really the walk –  the extended walk especially!”

Michael Jung (Germany)

Klimke produced a reliably stellar performance on her regular team partner SAP Hale Bob OLD to score 22.2. Their test reflected a beautifully trained horse and a happy partnership, and Klimke even had time to pat her 15-year-old bay gelding in reward for a smooth flying change.

The Belgian team, which is seeking one of the two precious Olympic qualification slots for Tokyo 2020, is in third place with a team total of 90.9; France, Ireland and Italy follow, with just 3.4 penalties covering the four nations.

Attention is now focused on tomorrow’s Cross Country test designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, who has re-routed the track, allowing plenty of alternative routes while warning that they will cost in time penalties.

Overnight leader Michael Jung is also appreciative of the 26–fence track:

“It’s a very fair course, to be in the time you have to be fast, you have to take a little bit of a risk, and as faster as you go, as easier you can have somewhere a little mistake.”

Tomorrow promises to be a thrilling competition. First out on course at 10.00 CEST will be the Netherlands’ Merel Blom and Chiccolino.

Follow the action on FEI TV and click here for full results and start times.


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