All 74 event horses passed the first Olympic horse inspection at Greenwich, but the morning wasn’t without drama as four horses were sent to the holding box.
South Africa’s Alexander Peternell, France’s Lionel Guyon, Canada’s Peter Barry and Brazil’s Serguei Fofanoff all suffered an anxious few minutes while their horses were examined by vets, but all four passed on reinspection.
Britain’s five horses all passed with flying colours, although Zara Phillips was asked to trot High Kingdom twice — possibly, one wag suggested, for the sake of the photographers.
The trot-up was held in the huge main arena on a lane of hard surface laid specially for the inspection.
Riders were united in praising the presentation of Sue Benson’s cross-country track, which does not appear to be particularly big or complicated.
Chef d’equipe Yogi Breisner said: “It’s how we expected — not that big jumping-wise, but we don’t know what the effect of the terrain will be, and that is very much the key. It is very up and down and twisty, and it is hard to say whether the time [10min 3sec] will be gettable.”
He added: “British spectators should not be surprised if we are a little behind after the dressage, but hopefully we can claw that back in the jumping.”
William Fox-Pitt (pictured) said: “You will be doing well to be up on your minute markers on the early section of the course, which is the most hilly, but the final three minutes are fairly flat and time could definitely be made up there.”
New Zealand’s Caroline Powell said: “It’s beautifully built, but the hills will be seriously hard on the horses, and I think it will be very difficult to get the time.”
The British team running order will be announced this afternoon.
Don’t miss H&H’s full report of the Olympic eventing, in the issue on sale FRIDAY 3 August – 23-page special report, with comments from Ruth Edge, Pippa Funnell and Mark Phillips, pictures of every cross-country fence, stunning photos and full analysis.