William Fox-Pitt delivered a copybook clear round inside the time today at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships in Malmö to retain his silver medal position after the cross-country phase. But ahead of him by an emphatic 8 penalties is the apparently unstoppable Michael Jung from Germany (below), the reigning world, European and Olympic champion, with new championship ride Halunke FBW. He now goes into the final showjumping phase with 2 fences in hand.

JungM_Euro3DE5822Disaster for the British team effort

Superb clears inside the time from William and Tina Cook on her veteran British team ride Miners Frolic were some consolation for the other disappointments in the British camp.

Pippa Funnell suffered a run-out on Mirage D’Elle, Lucy Wiegersma suffered a horse fall with Simon Porloe when the horse left a leg at the 8th fence, and individual rider Izzy Taylor had an unfortunate run-out at the 7th in her senior championship debut, having lain ninth after dressage. Lucy suffered some bruising but is otherwise alright.

Britain’s team medal hopes have therefore all but vanished. The team languishes in 6th place, having lain in the bronze position after dressage. Meanwhile, the German and Swedish teams’ positions remain unchanged, in 1st and 2nd. Impressively, all their riders went clear and inside the time bar one — Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal with Shamwari 4, and he was a mere second outside it.

The cross-country course caused far less trouble than anticipated, and rode much faster than people had imagined. Roughly a 3rd of the field managed to go inside the time, even including a long route or 2.

“I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, with all those twists and turns, but I did,” said William Fox-Pitt. “I’ve had a long time to watch the others and feel sick today before my round, but I know Chilli has it in him.”

Although Chilli Morning is a decent showjumper, William seems resigned to the idea of Michael Jung claiming yet another gold medal tomorrow. “There’s no way he’ll have two down,” he said.

Team positions after cross country

  1. Germany, 112.2pen
  2. Sweden, 120.6pen
  3. France 135.4pen
  4. Italy, 149.4pen
  5. Belgium 162.2pen
  6. Great Britain: 167.6pen
  7. Ireland: 205.8pen

Individual placings after cross country

  1. Michael Jung (GER), Halunke FBW, 28.6pen
  2. William Fox-Pitt (GBR), Chilli Morning, 36.6pen
  3. Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE), Shamwari 4, 38pen
  4. Ingrid Klimke (GER), FRH Escada JS, 39.4pen
  5. Sara Algotsson-Ostholt (SWE). Reality 39, 40.6pen
  6. Niklas Lindback (SWE), Mister Pooh, 42pen
  7. Nicolas Touzaint (FRA), Lesbos, 42pen
  8. Peter Thomsen (GER), Horseware’s Cayenne, 42.6pen
  9. Tina Cook (GBR), Miners Frolic, 43.4pen

Log back on later for a final update from the European Championships and don’t miss next week’s H&H for our full 10-page special report, including full analysis and comments from ground jury member Christian Landolt, British team rider Tina Cook and former European champion Ian Stark.