The Australasian Team were swaggering around the collecting team with their usual air of bravado before the start of the Team Challenge this evening at Windsor. And after the first dressage phase, it proved not to be misplaced.
Andrew Hoy and his wife Bettina lightened the atmosphere by executing a graceful (if informal) Pas de Deux in the collecting ring, and they went on to take a neat one-two in the first draw, although Andrew was clearly put out to have been beaten into the top spot by the ever foot perfect Bettina.
Matt Ryan was the only one of the Australasian team that won his draw. He beat America’s Cindy Rawson, “cool Cutty” [Sarah Cutteridge] for GB and Konstantin van Rijckevorsel for the Rest of Europe. All the other members of the Australasian team took second spot in their respective draws, giving the team an overall total at the end of this first phase of 13 points.
Great Britain are breathing down the neck of their Southern Hemisphere rivals. William Fox Pitt continued his excellent form, performing by far the best test of the evening on the veteran Stunning. Compatriot Pippa Funnell also won her draw on Matter of Fact, while both Sarah Cutteridge and Zara Phillips took third, meaning that the GB team ended on 12 points.
Bettina Hoy dazzled for the Rest of Europe, and along with her other team mates, Heidi Antikatzides, Hampshire-based Italian youngster Vittoria Pannizon and Belgian Konstantin van Rijckevorsel, performed well enough to creep ahead of the Americas, with eight points.
The Americas were at a slight disadvantage as two of them had been forced to beg, borrow or steal rides for the event. The unfamiliarity of the David O’Connor – Topping partnership took its toll on their score, and William Coleman managed admirably on Helen James’ ride Barclay Square, but in spite of an elegant performance from Cindy Rawson on The Gatecrasher, the team finished the dressage at the bottom of the table on seven points.
Current team standings:
1. Australasia 13 points
2. Great Britain 12 points
3. Rest of Europe 8 points
4. The Americas 7 points