New leader! Hot favourite breaks up British domination in European Eventing Championships

  • Michael Jung broke up the British stranglehold on the podium with a world-class test on Fischerchipmunk FRH. Michael produced just the test his fans were hoping for, coasting into the lead on 19.4 at the European Eventing Championships dressage.

    Michi has won 19 championship medals including three individual European golds, but has yet to secure an individual gold medal with his current top horse. Riding as German’s anchorman, Michael conjured a mistake-free test from this outstanding mover to steal a lead of 2.6pen over Tom McEwen and JL Dublin.

    “Fischerchipmunk was amazing to ride – he was super in the warm-up, and in the preparation last week he gave me a good feeling,” said Michael. “He was very calm in the arena, but in the beginning he was a little tense, which is the reason why I went in early, so I had more time – which was very good for him. When I went into the test, he was perfect.

    “His canter was the highlight, but maybe the walk could have been better. It was a bit long and low and the connection was not perfect but it’s difficult to have 100% as you wish for. It’s difficult to have the horse powerful but relaxed, and that’s where you have to be flexible in your preparation – sometimes do some jumping or harder work.”

    Michael laid down the gauntlet with a 10 and two nines for the early half before the rein-back. While his extended walk dropped him off his own superlative pace, he regained the high scores with fantastic changes – the first one scoring nines across the board. His bold and vibrant extended trot was another highlight.

    The pair’s own record in the dressage arena is 18.8, and they were not far off that peak here, but still have not given them much breathing space ahead of the chasing pack.

    Despite Michael’s dazzling score, the Brits will hold the advantage in the team contest ahead of cross-country, with their anchormen Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo the penultimate pair into the dressage ring.

    European Eventing Championships dressage: day two

    Among the other riders in this final session, Calmaro was on his toes for Joseph Murphy but still scored Ireland’s top mark of 32.5. Belgium’s Karin Donckers conjured a super test from Fletcha Van’T Verahof, the oldest horse in the competition at 18 and contesting his eighth championships. Karin is riding in her 28th senior championships, having missed just two Europeans since 1993.

    Their early halts and the rein-back were exemplary, scoring nines, and this veteran campaigner looked loose and supple in a beautifully steady outline throughout to score 26.5 and go into seventh place. Fletcha showed how at ease he was with the championships atmosphere by delaying his final exit from the arena with a long leg scratch just before A.

    End of day update: Michael Jung has retained his dressage lead overnight. 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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