The German 4-star is a final chance for riders from many nations to impress selectors ahead of them making squad choices for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG, 28-31 August).
For Britain, Oliver Townend will ride Karyn Shuter’s ex-racehorse Black Tie II in his first 4-star. The horse won a CIC3* at Burnham Market earlier this year and was 2nd after dressage at Bramham CIC3* last weekend, before being withdrawn.
William Fox-Pitt partners the Hon Teresa Stopford Sackville’s Cool Mountain (above). The reigning world individual silver medallist led the Brits to European team bronze here in 2011, when he was 7th individually. The Primitive Rising son is unlikely to trump Chilli Morning as William’s ride for WEG, but he could provide a useful reserve horse.
Many of the crack German pairs are starting in the CIC3* rather than the CCI4*, but Olympic, world and European champion Michael Jung is competing the CCI4* on FischerRocana FST. The 9-year-old is at his 1st 4-star, but was recently 4th in the hot CIC3* at Marbach.
Also for the home side Bettina Hoy will pilot Designer, recently 16th at Houghton CICO3*.
After having to pull up early at Badminton when Flying Finish knocked himself, Lucinda Fredericks returns to the venue where she and “Christi” finished 2nd in 2012. Also worth watching out for in the Aussie camp are Christopher Burton (Tempranillo) and Andrew Hoy (Rutherglen), as well as Kevin McNab, newly returned to the competition scene following the lifting of his suspension.
New Zealand has 2 strong chances in Badminton refugees Tim Price (Wesko) and his wife Jonelle (The Deputy), while Mark Todd rides Oloa, who was withdrawn after a disappointing dressage test at Kentucky.
The longest journeys to Luhmühlen have been made by the American competitors, Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin. Phillip rides Mighty Nice — who was originally named Over The Vee and competed in his native Ireland by Joseph Murphy.
Boyd Martin, recently back competing after a broken leg, has 2 rides. Otis Barbotiere is on the comeback trail after being injured at the London Olympics, while this is a big test for Boyd’s new partnership with the former Ludwig Svennerstal horse Shamwari 4.
Luhmühlen is the penultimate event in this round of the FEI Classics. William Fox-Pitt is currently out in front, but Christopher Burton and Oliver Townend, currently 3rd and 4th, stand to gain ground this weekend.
Keep up with all the Luhmühlen action with end of phase reports on www.horseandhound.co.uk. Full report in H&H next week, out 19 June.
FEI Classics 2013/2014 (after 4 of 6 events)
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 30 points
2 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 15
3 Christopher Burton (AUS) 15
4 Oliver Townend (GBR) 12
5 Maxime Livio (FRA) 12
6 Lauren Kieffer (USA) 12
7 Sonja Johnson (AUS) 12
8 Phillip Dutton (USA) 11
9 Harry Meade (GBR) 10
10 Bruce Davidson Jnr (USA) 10