‘You know he’ll deliver’: European eventing champion makes smashing start in title defence

  • JL Dublin put himself in prime position to defend his title as he danced his way into the lead in the European Eventing Championships dressage phase in Haras du Pin, France.

    The Diarado gelding won double gold under Nicola Wilson in Avenches in 2021, but since her injury at Badminton Horse Trials last year, Tom McEwen has taken the ride. Tom and Dublin produced a fabulous test which got better and better throughout their performance. They started off trending on 25, but stole the lead from compatriot Yasmin Ingham (Banzai Du Loir) through their exceptional canter work towards the end to complete on 22.1.

    “He’s simply stunning on the flat, he captures the eye and he swings through,” said Tom, who is riding as an individual. “You always know he’s going to deliver, it’s just whether I can do it as a rider.”

    While JL Dublin’s trot and walk earned him great marks, it was his super smooth flying changes that sky-rocketed the scores.

    “The changes were a serious highlight – and that extended trot, I would like to do five more of those, we might be even further in the lead!” said Tom.

    The only tiny blip came when Dublin shifted in his halt before the rein-back, but it was the smallest of errors and the overall test was well-deserving of its excellent score.

    European Eventing Championships dressage: day two

    This Friday morning (11 August) featured the first of the individual riders, who are proving they’re not here to make up the numbers – Germany’s Jérôme Robiné slotted into second place on 26 at the end of the first day with Black Ice, behind Britain’s second team rider Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir, who held the lead on Thursday night on 23.4.

    Italian pair Federico Sacchetti and GRC Shiraz were the first combination before the judges in this morning session, followed by Ireland’s Jennifer Kuenhle and Polly Blue Eyes. Jennifer, 21, is the youngest rider in the field. She has won medals at under-21 level in both showjumping and eventing and this is her senior squad championship debut. Polly Blue Eyes was Jennifer’s young rider team silver medallist, and while the 15-year-old mare is not an extravagant mover, she produced a relaxed and correct test for 32.8, a big four-star personal best for the horse.

    Britain’s other individual combination, Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift, perform their test during the afternoon, at 2.42pm British time.

    End of day update: Tom McEwen now holds third place. Full results here.

    Horse & Hound has a team of reporters covering all the action at the Europeans in Haras du Pin. To keep reading on our website after five articles, readers will need to buy a subscription. Visit horseandhound.co.uk/join to buy a Horse & Hound website unlimited subscription or, for great value, visit magazinesdirect.com/XHH-brandsite for a combined magazine and website subscription. If you are already a magazine subscriber, the cost to upgrade your subscription to include full website access is minimal – call 0330 333 1113 to find out more.

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