Great Britain holds team and individual gold after day one of the eventing dressage at the Tokyo Olympics.
World number one Oliver Townend was second into the arena during the first of today’s two sessions and set the standard — 23.6 — which wasn’t beaten all day.
Oliver, 38, described his test aboard his 2017 Burghley CCI5* winner Ballaghmor Class as being “very safe” and said he wasn’t bothered by the pressure of being second into the arena and first to ride for his country.
“It wouldn’t be my chosen job in life to be pathfinder, but at the same time the first bit is out of the way and he’s [Ballaghmor Class] done a very commendable job,” said Oliver.
“So fingers crossed we keep the work up over the next three or four days and see where we end up.”
British teammate Laura Collett’s 25.8-penalty score puts her in fourth overnight with her 2020 Pau CCI5* winner London 52.
Laura said she felt the horse wasn’t quite his normal “show off” self but he tried hard.
“He’s been phenomenal all year and I was aiming for a score of 21/22,” she said. “This year he’s been very close to Ballaghmor Class, but unfortunately it didn’t come off today.”
There are 20 horse and rider combinations left to ride their tests tomorrow. Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser are the final combination to go for Britain.
Sweden sits in silver over night with two riders — Louise Romeike (Cato 60) and Therese Viklund (Viscera) — inside the top 10 (equal seventh and ninth respectively).
The host nation, Japan is currently third on the scoreboard.
Individually, China’s Alex Hua Tian is in second with Don Geniro — a meer 0.3 of a penalty behind Oliver — and Germany’s Julia Krajewski (Amande de B’Neville) holds third.
The short action-packed dressage test was specially created for these Olympic Games due to a new format for the eventing and takes less than four minutes to complete.
Overnight there were some changes to the teams, with both Australia’s Stuart Tinney (Leporis) and Ireland’s Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua) withdrawing. Stuart has been replaced by Kevin McNab (Don Quidam) and Cathal by Austin O’Connor (Colorado Blue).
Top 10 team standings after dressage day one:
- Great Britain 49.4
- Sweden 56.1
- Japan 58.6
- China 59.1
- Germany 59.3
- New Zealand 61
- France 62.7
- Switzerland 62.8
- United States 63.5
- Australia 63.8
View the fill team and individual standings.
Cross-country: ‘always on the climb’
There has been a lot of talk about USA designer Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course at Sea Forest, where the cross-country phase will take place early on Sunday morning.
“It’s very intense,” said Oliver. “You’re always on the climb or camber or in the water, or in a combination.
“The questions are extremely fair; it’s very horse friendly and if you took each fence individually there wouldn’t be too many problems. But when you add the heat, the terrain, the Olympic pressure and then speed on top of that, it’s going to be causing a lot of trouble and it’s going to be very difficult to get the time.
“Derek is a horseman to start with, and I think he’s a special, talented man at the job,” continued Oliver. “He wants the horses to see where they are going — there’s no tricks out there.
“Derek doesn’t try to catch horses out, he builds very see-able questions and lets the terrain and the speed do the job for him.”
See the full equestrian timetable here.
Main photo: Oliver Townend and Ballaghmore Class. Credit: FEI/Christophe Taniere