Britain equal second in Olympic showjumping team competition

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Britain’s showjumpers are in equal second place at the halfway point of the Olympic team competition.

They carry forward a score of four faults into the second round after both Ben Maher (Tripple X) and Nick Skelton (Big Star) jumped clear. Scott Brash just hit the final fence on Hello Sanctos, so the team was able to discard Peter Charles‘ eight faults on Vindicat.

Nick said: “Big Star is the most perfect horse. He has been jumping great all year. He is a freak, he really is. And the crowd are unbelievable. It won’t be their fault if we don’t win.”

Britain is tied with the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland in second, behind Saudi Arabi, whose riders carry forward a score of only one time-fault to tomorrow’s final round.

Canada is in sixth place on five faults — despite the loss of one rider, Tiffany Foster, whose horse Victor has been disqualified due to hypersensitivity.

Tied in seventh are Brazil and the United States on eight faults.

As the rules state that only the top eight team progress to the second round, several teams are now out of the competition — Mexico, Australia, Ukraine, Chile and, in a shock shake-up of usual form, Germany (12 faults), France (14 faults) and Belgium (16 faults).

But if individual riders from those countries are high enough up the rankings — the top 46 in this case — they can jump again tomorrow as part of their individual medal pursuits. So Germany’s Janne-Friederike Meyer, Marcus Ehning and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, France’s Kevin Staut, Simon Delestre and Olivier Guillon and all four of Belgium’s riders will appear tomorrow, even if their teams can progress no further.

Twelve riders remain faultless in the individual rankings, including Ben Maher and Nick Skelton. The others are: Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdullah al Saud; Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, Mexico’s Alberto Michan, Brazilian Alvaro Affonso de Miranda Neto, Dutch riders Maikel van der Vleuten and Marc Houtzager, Henrik von Eckermann and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Sweden), Switzerland’s Paul Estermann and America’s Rich Fellers.

Ireland’s Cian O’Connor hit two fences today on Blue Loyd but will jump tomorrow, while Billy Twomey is out after adding eights faults today to his four yesterday on Tinka’s Serenade.

“I’m very disappointed, and I can’t lay the blame anywhere other than with myself,” said Billy.

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First H&H reports on the Olympic dressage and showjumping team contests in the magazine out FRIDAY, 10 August