NICOLAS Touzaint has been forced to withdraw Galan De Sauvagere from the Olympic three-day event in Hong Kong. In a second blow to the French squad, already depleted by the loss of Jean Teulere’s injured Espoir De La Mare, the announcement was made as the European Champions were due to enter the arena at 9.23pm local time.

The horse had fallen over in his loose box on Friday morning during a thunder storm and damaged his stifle, an injury which had worsened as Nicholas tried to work him in prior to his test.

“I find it difficult to believe,” said Nicolas. “Yesterday we had doubts about him which were confirmed this morning. We gave it another try tonight, but his condition had worsened and we had to give up.”

Lucinda Fredericks has maintained her lead following the second dressage session, held under floodlights and in front of a near capacity 18,000 crowd. Husband Clayton, however, is now in fifth place having relinquished his second spot to Belgium individuals Karin Donckers and Gazelle De La Brasserie, who brought the second session of dressage to a close.

Australia’s Megan Jones and her home-bred Irish Jester, who scored 35.4, are lying in third place, with US rider Becky Holder and Courageous Comet in fourth on 35.7. Germany’s dental surgeon Hinrich Romeike has also entered the reckoning and is lying sixth with Marius.

Tina Cook and Miners Frolic boosted British morale with a score of 40.2 which is good enough for eighth place at this stage.

“He’s only 10, he’s never been in an atmosphere like this and he’s done his best ever test so I couldn’t be more pleased,” said a delighted Tina.

A protestor tried to disrupt the proceedings for the second time during the competition when Chinese rider Alex Hua Tian was in the ring. The demonstrator, Leung Kwok-Heung, a well-known activist, waved a banner which stated ‘Freedom for China, no dictatorship’. The on-site security forces acted efficiently, as they had during the protest during the morning session and quickly ejected Mr Leung.

After three riders Australia has increased its lead in the team standings and is lying first with 102.8 penalties. The USA is in second on 121.5 penalties, followed by Germany, Sweden and the UK with 142.1.

Stay in touch with all the Olympic news as it happens on HorseandHound.co.uk and don’t miss H&H’s full report from the Olympic eventing in Hong Kong — on sale Friday 15 August.