‘I’m very lucky to ride such a special horse’: British rider leads Pau Horse Trials after cross-country

  • There was a fairytale end to Pau Horse Trials’ cross-country today (29 October) when the final rider of the day, David Doel, cruised around the track as one of only four to finish inside the 11-minute optimum time. He remains on his 30.6 dressage, which put him in 15th after the first phase.

    The British rider was aboard Gillian Jonas’ super-consistent 11-year-old Galileo Nieuwmoed, who made nothing of the Pierre Michelet five-star track to complete with nine seconds in hand.

    “He was fantastic and I’m very lucky to ride such a special horse,” David said. “He’s pretty mega and he gave me an almost foot-perfect ride all the way round. We just added a couple of extra strides right at the end at fence 27 [Maison & triple brushes de Crédit Agricole Pyrénées-Gascogne], which slightly frustrated me, but he was lovely and careful. He is a big, scopey, bold horse and he’s really cool.”

    David explained he suffered a technical malfunction with his stopwatch as he started his Pau Horse Trials cross-country round.

    “I actually stopped up my clock by accident as I left the start box as I hit it twice and realised it wasn’t running,” he said.

    Twenty-nine-year-old David has enjoyed a great run of form with Galileo Nieuwmoed. They were sixth at Badminton this spring and were 15th at Pau last year.

    “He did the job yesterday and did the job today. We have to make sure he’s all fit and happy and ready for tomorrow morning, and then worry about the jumping after that.”

    David said that he doesn’t like to look at results before he goes cross-country, so he didn’t know that he had the opportunity to go into the lead.

    “I stick in my own little bubble – I watched a few on the big screen with my dad and Izzy Taylor after my first ride and then got on.”

    The cross-country proved incredibly influential, but without any bad falls.

    Overnight leader Felix Vogg activated a frangible pin with Colero, plus they incurred 3.2 time-faults, which now leaves them in 10th.

    The optimum time was hard to achieve, with just four riders managing it – the current leaders, plus France’s Karim Florent Laghouag with Triton Fontaine, who are in third, fellow Frenchman Maxime Livio with Carouzo Bois Marotin, who are in sixth, and another French rider, Lucy Chateau with Viens Du Mont, who are in 12th having been 44th after dressage.

    Emily King, who was fifth after the dressage had a great clear round with Valmy Biats. They picked up 11.6 time penalties and are now in eighth.

    Mollie Summerland, who was in fourth after the first phase, is now in 15th after they activated a frangible device at fence 21B, a corner in the water out on the racehorse training ground.

    Izzy Taylor was in second after the dressage with Monkeying Around, but two refusals for them at fence 9B, a corner after a table, put paid to their efforts and Izzy then retired.

    Tom McEwen also retired after two run outs at fence 4B, a corner after a drop, with Bob Chaplin. The pair were in third after the dressage phase.

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