Piggy French holds her lead in London 2012 Olympic test event

  • British rider Piggy French maintained her lead in the London 2012 Olympic test event at Greenwich Park with the fastest cross-country time of the day on DHI Topper W (pictured).

    She goes into the final showjumping day with a fence in hand, remaining on her dressage score of 34.7.

    “The course rode very well, but it does ride very quick,” said Piggy. “The terrain is testing for horses and riders both mentally and physically. It’s spectacular to ride around, but it is going to be quite intense.”

    Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt rose two places from fourth to second with a clear inside the time on Mrs Medicott. They stay on 41.6, while Michael Jung remains in third place for Germany a fraction behind them — River Of Joy collected 0.4 of a time-fault for a score of 41.8.

    Australia’s Clayton Fredericks started the day in second, but 1.2 time-penalties dropped him to fourth on 42.1, while Pippa Funnell stayed fifth, two seconds over the 5min 5sec allowed on Billy Shannon.

    Sara’s husband Frank, who rides for Germany, climbed a place to sixth on Sir Medicott.

    What’s the course like?

    This was our first view of the Olympic track, which riders alternately described as “like a BMX track”, or “like being in a tumbledryer”. It is tight, but no more so than many modern event courses.

    What dominates it is a seriously steep hill — the course started on a large plateau at the top and swept down to the water and back up again — which, with the extra distance that a four-star event will require (this test event is a CIC**) will be demanding for horses.

    Considerable work has been done to the ground and course-designer Sue Benson said that much more will be done in the year remaining.

    There were very few problems on the track — a few run-outs and a couple of innocuous falls — and it is worth remembering that an Olympic course will look and feel quite different. But there is no doubt that the venue works, and the crowds of excited schoolchildren by the water jump serve as a reminder that nothing like this has ever been seen in London before.

    More about the test event in H&H this Thursday, 7th July issue, and next week, 14th July issue.

    Cross-country action photos

    Cross-country course pictures

    Pictures from dressage day

    London 2012 Olympic CIC** test event: positions after cross-country

    1. Piggy French (GBR) on DHI Topper W 34.7

    2. Sara Algotsson Ostholt (SWE) on Mrs Medicott 41.6

    3. Michael Jung (GER) on River Of Joy 41.8

    4. Clayton Fredericks (AUS) on Bendigo 42.1

    5. Pippa Funnell (GBR) on Billy Shannon 44.9

    6. Frank Ostholt (GER) on Sir Medicott 48.9

    7. Joris van Springel (BEL) on Limestone 50.1

    8. Virginie Caulier (BEL) Nepal Du Sudre 50.8

    9. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) on Gaucho 52.3

    10. Andrew Nicholson (NZL) on Viscount George 52.6

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