The Australian dressage team have secured their place for Hong Kong 2008 following assessments at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre on 4 February.

It is the first time the country has qualified a dressage team, apart from Sydney 2000 where they were granted qualification as host nation.

Australia’s Brett Parberry and Heath and Rozzie Ryan finished on a team score of 196.167 to put them in front during their Asia-Pacific regional Olympic Qualifying Assessments.

Brett Parberry riding Carolyn Lieutenant’s Victory Salute, achieved the highest score of his team, 66.917%, saying: ‘When I left the arena I thought I’d blown it, then I heard the score and I thought sometimes you can be lucky.”

Team-mates Heath and Rozzie Ryan scored 64.708% and 64.542% respectively riding Greenoaks Dundee and Donna Carrera.

This put Australia ahead of Japan, who scored 194.792 in their assessment. Japan now have to wait for New Zealand’s result tomorrow (7 February), to see which of these two teams will take the final team position available to the region.