Great Britain has maintained its dressage lead after an exciting cross-country phase at the Tokyo Olympics and goes into Monday’s showjumping finale in gold medal position.
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class have also moved up into individual gold after the overnight leaders, Michael Jung and Chipmunk FRH, picked up 11 penalties for activating a frangible pin.
“We know he’s special; anybody who watches eventing knows he’s special,” said Oliver of his grey 2017 Burghley CCI5* winner. “He’s quirky but he’s tough and the bottom line is that he wants to do his job, more than most horses.”
The British trio of Oliver, Laura Collett (London 52) and Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) executed three brilliant clear rounds inside the time.
In doing so, they have increased their lead to 17.9 penalties over Australia and have four fences in hand tomorrow.
The defending champions, France, lie in the bronze medal position, ahead of New Zealand and then the USA.
Frangible pin system
Germany has slipped from second to sixth on the team leaderboard following Michael’s penalties and a run out for Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz).
When a frangible pin is broken 11 penalties are automatically given and riders can choose to appeal the decision. The FEI’s wording around the frangible pin penalty system is as follows:
“Each athlete activating a frangible device will be awarded 11 penalties, whether the activation occurs as expected (i.e. activation by significant pressure exerted by the horse on the fence).
“In the case of unexpected activation (i.e. activation by an insignificant contact) the ground jury will be called to evaluate the possible removal of the penalty.
“In evaluating the possible removal of the penalty, ground juries are not called to investigate if the horse would have fallen or not if the contact was with the front or hind legs, or if the rider was riding dangerously or not, but only if an unexpected activation occurred through a light tap. This is the only case where penalties can be removed.”
If Michael successfully appeals and his penalties are removed he will move back into the individual gold medal position*.
‘I haven’t got any words’
As it stands, Germany’s medal hopes lie with Julia Krajewski, who piloted Amande de B’Neville home clear and just one second over the 7mins 45secs optimum time to hold the individual silver medal position overnight.
A beautiful round from Laura Collett places her in bronze overnight with London 52.
“I’m not really sure I’ve got any words for it to be honest,” said Laura after her round. “I’ve always said he’s a superstar and he went out and proved to everyone just how good he is.”
If Julia or Laura is crowned individual Olympic champion on Monday, they will be making history as there has never been a female eventing individual Olympic champion.
The scores are tight at the top with less than four penalties separating the top five, meaning Oliver does not have a fence in hand when he bids for individual glory.
Tom McEwen lies sixth, behind New Zealand’s Tim Price (Vitali) and Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto (Vinci de la Vigne).
“That felt absolutely fantastic,” said Tom after his round. “He [Toledo] was just phenomenal, so straight and wanting to jump every jump. I’m just really pleased that I could give him the ride he deserved.”
The final showjumping place takes place at 5pm on Monday evening (Japan Standard Time) — 9am in the UK.
There is the second horse inspection to get through first, which takes place at 9.30am JST (1.30am BST).
Team standings after cross-country — top 10
- Great Britain 78.3
- Australia 96.2
- France 97.1
- New Zealand 104
- USA 109.4
- Germany 114.2
- Italy 132.8
- Ireland 161
- China 185.6
- Poland 213.8
Individual standings after cross-country — top 10
- Oliver Townend/Ballaghmor Class GBR 23.6
- Julia Krajewski/Amande de Bneville GER 25.6
- Laura Collett/London 52 GBR 25.8
- Tim Price/Vitali NZL 26.8
- Kazuma Tomoto/Vinci de la Vigne JPN 27.5
- Tom McEwen/Toledo de Kerser GBR 28.9
- Andrew Hoy/Vassily de Lassos AUS 29.6
- Christopher Six/Totem de Brecey FRA 31.2
- Shane Rose/Virgil AUS 31.7
- Michael Jung/Chipmunk FRH GER 32.1
View the full overnight leaderboard here.
All images courtesy of British Equestrian/Jon Stroud Media.
*This story will be updated if Michael Jung’s cross-country penalties are removed