On a day that saw British hopes dashed in dramatic fashion, the cross-country in Pau was a triumph for Sweden’s recent European silver medalists, Linda Algotsson and Stand By Me.
Linda’s judgment that Stand By Me was ready for another run so soon after his exertions in Punchestown was more than vindicated, for this home-bred Warmblood scampered safely round the 27-fence course with the fastest time of the day – 7sec inside the optimum.
Only one other rider, Magnus Gallerdal, also of Sweden, with Keymaster, got the time, which moved him up from 38th after the dressage, to 14th.
Frenchman Pascal Leroy on Eersteling du Leou is lying 11.1 penalties behind Linda, with his compatriot Eddy Sans on Ecile in third place, a further 0.3pen in arrears.
Britain’s five-strong squad suffered an early blow when Clare Chamberlayne’s ride Headley Kingdom came to grief at fence four, a difficult drop to a bounce. Headley Kingdom was so onward bound that he attempted to dispense with the bounce, jumping both fences as a spread, and took a serious fall.
James Robinson and Comanche were going well until they parted company at the second water, Julie Tew was eliminated after falling from Sir Roselier at fences four and 12, and Polly Stockton and Oscar went their separate ways at the first of the corners, fence eight.
William Fox-Pitt retired Stunning (pictured) after grinding to a halt at 11, the tricky corner which had been avoided by the British riders at the European Championships at this venue two years ago.
Australia’s Megan Jones, joint-leader with Algotsson after the dressage, dropped down the order after her big part-Irish Draught Kirby Park Irish Hallmark predictably found some of the tight turns difficult and collected 17.2 time penalties.
The ground was also a factor for those who went early as the torrential rain from earlier in the week had rendered some of the turns more slippery than had been expected.
Results after XC
1, Linda Algotsson (Stand By Me) SWE 38.0;
2, Pascal Leroy (Eersteling du Leou) FRA 49.1;
3, Eddy Sans (Ecile) FRA;
4, Peter Thomsen (Bordou) GER 50.3;
5, Sam Griffiths (In The Groove) AUS 51,0;
6, Andrew Nicholson (Fenicio) NZL 51.6;
7, Gilles Pons (Daguet du Rochau HN) FRA 51.9;
8, Henri Bernard (Fleuron des Pres) FRA 52.7;
9, Gina Miles (McKinlaigh) USA 53.0;
10, Matt Ryan (Bonza Puzzle) AUS 54.9.