Michael Jung has maintained his lead in the Pau CCI4* after today’s cross-country phase, however he is now in the top spot with his Rolex Kentucky CCI4* winner FischerRocana FST (below). Britain’s Nicola Wilson remains in third place riding One Two Many.
Michael’s dressage leader FischerTakinou jumped clear but picked up 8.8 time-faults and slipped to fifth.
“I’m very proud of both horses,” said Michael. “Rocana felt wonderful, very simple to every fence. Takinou was a bit slow but this is his first four-star competition and he gave me a good feeling.”
Pierre Michelet’s 32-fence prompted a reshuffle of the leaderboard with problems occurring all around the track and only two combinations achieving the 11-minute optimum time.
Alexander Bragg and Zagreb, the best-placed British duo after dressage in second, successfully pulled of their first clear round together at this level, but 12.4 time-faults dropped them to ninth.
France’s Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers, second at the German CCI4* in Luhmuhlen earlier this year, has moved up the order to second courtesy of stopping the clock bang on the optimum.
“This is only the horse’s second CCI4* and he felt very fast and courageous,” said Maxime.
The other penalty-free round came from Aussie Christopher Burton on his 2013 Adelaide CCI4* winner TS Jamaimo, but they are hampered by a first-phase score of 60.3 and remain outside the top 20.
Wilson’s in the hunt
Nicola Wilson held on to third place on One Two Many (above), the bay jumping a super clear but finishing 7secs adrift of the 11-minute optimum time.
“He’s the type of horse you can’t pick up the rhythm on around the course, you have to start with the pace you want to finish at,” said Nicola. “He travelled well and came home as he started.”
Nicola also jumped clear on Annie Clover, who lies 12th.
Jock Paget and Clifton Signature have moved into fourth while America’s Boyd Martin is sixth on Cracker Jack, less than a penalty ahead of Astier Nicolas. The winner here last year, Astier partners Molakai this time, a horse who is making his debut at this level.
Tina Cook is the other British rider at the business end, eighth after a great clear aboard her Rio reserve Billy The Red.
Australian sheep farmer Sonja Johnson rounds off the top 10 aboard Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, while best-placed of the Irish contingent is Camilla Speirs. Her pint-sized Portersize Just A Jiff exceeded the optimum by four seconds, a feat that earned them a meteoric rise from 32nd after dressage to 11th.
Victims of the course
Three riders crashed out of the reckoning, including Britain’s Laura Collett, who fell when Pamero 4, lying eighth, caught the artist’s palette at fence 28 with his front legs.
Compatriot Kirsty Johnston was also well placed in ninth until Opposition Detective glanced off a corner at fence four.
Karin Donckers lost her grasp on fifth place when Fletcha Van’t Verahof picked up 13.2 time-faults. They are now 16th.
New Zealand’s Tim Price got wet when he was decanted in the third water (22), Xavier Faer on target for 11th place until coming to grief at the first corner in this combination.
Less than a fence separates the top five, so there is all to play for in tomorrow’s final showjumping phase, which starts at 2.30pm local time (1.30pm British time).
There is the final horse inspection to get through first, which takes place at 9am (8am British time).
Come back to horseandhound.co.uk on Sunday afternoon to find out whether Michael Jung can complete the set — he is bidding to win all five CCI4*s in the northern hemisphere.
Take a look at the most difficult cross-country fences here.
For full results click here.
Don’t miss the full Pau report in next week’s Horse & Hound, on sale 20 October.