Riding the 11-year-old DHI Topper W, Piggy performed a beautifully accurate, elegant test (pictured) to score 34.7 in the CIC** competition which is acting as both a try-out of the temporary facilities in Greenwich Park and as a fact-finding mission for 23 nations. That gives her a six-mark lead over second-placed Clayton Fredericks (Bendigo), who posted 40.9.
Third is the reigning world champion Michael Jung, riding River Of Joy for Germany, on 42.4.
“I hope we haven’t peaked too early!” exclaimed Piggy after her test.
Asked if DHI Topper W, who was third at Saumur CCI*** in France earlier in the summer, is a possible Olympic contender, she replied: “If he’s going to be, he needs to be producing this level of work.”
Piggy, along with all the other 38 riders, praised the venue and the riding surface in the main arena, which sits on stilts to avoid ruining the turf in Greenwich Park.
“The surface is excellent. And turning to your right and seeing the view is quite surreal — you could be in a movie, except with the same faces you usually see in a muddy field in the back-end of nowhere.”
Sara Algotsson Ostholt, representing Sweden, is fourth on 41.6 with Mrs Medicott, a couple of marks ahead of Britain’s second-highest rider Pippa Funnell (Billy Shannon), fifth on 44.1. Germany’s Sandra Auffarth is sixth on 44.3 riding Parancs.
William Fox-Pitt is Britain’s other competitor, ninth on Gaucho with 46.7.
“The arena is amazing,” he said. “It’s a great taster of what it will be like next year. The surface is lovely — better than any we’ve seen. It’s got some bounce in it and is kinder and more forgiving for horses than compacted sand.”
More about the test event in H&H this Thursday, 7th July issue, and next week, 14th July issue.
London 2012 Olympic CIC** test event: positions after dressage
1. Piggy French (GBR) on DHI Topper W 34.7
2. Clayton Fredericks (AUS) on Bendigo 40.9
3. Michael Jung (GER) on River Of Joy 41.4
4. Sara Algotsson Ostholt (SWE) on Mrs Medicott 41.6
5. Pippa Funnell (GBR) on Billy Shannon 44.1
6. Sandra Auffarth (GER) on Parancs 44.3
7. Frank Ostholt (GER) on Sir Medicott 45.7
8. Joris van Springel (BEL) on Limestone 46.5
9. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) on Gaucho 46.7
10. Virginie Caulier (BEL) on Nepal Du Sudre 48.8