GERMANY has turned the tables on Australia following the cross-country phase of the Olympic three-day event in Hong Kong.
Dental surgeon Hinrich Romeike and Marius are now in the gold medal position, with teammate Ingrid Klimke and Abraxxas reinforcing this country’s dominance in second.
Germany leads the team medal standings too, while Great Britain has risen into bronze position behind Australia.
Four out of the five members of the British squad came home with clear rounds, with William Fox-Pitt and Parkmore Ed the fastest with 10 penalties to add.
Mary King and Call Again Cavalier have moved up from ninth to equal fifth place despite having to contend with running across country during a torrential downpour.
“I didn’t notice the rain. I was just trying to go so fast. It was a very busy course to ride,” said Mary, who added 18 time penalties after stopping the clock on 8min 45sec.
The 8min optimum set for Mike Etherington-Smith’s 29-fence cross-country course proved impossible to attain. Shane Rose and All Luck came the closest, stopping the clock on 8min 23sec.
Tina Cook and Miners Frolic have also entered the top 10 with a polished clear round for 17.2 time faults.
Sharon Hunt and Tankers Town were the only Britons to record a jumping mistake when they collected 20 penalties for a run-out at the influential penultimate fence, the Pagoda ditch and brushes at 27/28, when the gelding, like several others in the field, ducked out at the second part.
In a thrilling three hours of cross-country action at Beas River on an unseasonably cool and drizzly August day, Australia lost the advantage it had gained during the dressage phase when the individual leaders Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia notched up an expensive 27.2 time faults and dropped to 11th place.
“Sometimes you just don’t get into a rhythm on a course. I found it difficult to get her opened out on the first part,” said Lucinda.
Megan Jones and Irish Jester are now the best placed Aussies in the bronze medal position.
Karin Donckers relinquished her second dressage placing when notching up a raft of time penalties with Gazelle De La Brasserie.
US rider Becky Holder and Courageous Comet, who had been fifth, disappeared from the reckoning with a stop at fence 21, the Crouching Dragon, where they added an additional 20 penalties for crossing their tracks on their way to the alternative.
Gina Miles and McKinlaigh are now the highest placed American partnership in equal fifth, just behind Clayton Fredericks and Ben Along Time.
In all there were eight eliminations on course, including one for Andrew Nicholson who fell off Lord Killinghurst at the Pagodas when they were on track to set the fastest time of the day.
Amy Tryon made history by becoming the first competitor ever to be eliminated for a rider fall in international competition, a ruling which came into force on 1 August. She fell off a hard-pulling Poggio when he caught his right hoof and then stumbled at fence 10, the Birdcages.
FEI president Princess Haya said that cross-country day, during which there were no reported injuries to horses or riders, had been a good one for the sport.
“It was one of the most exciting days; a top level competition in which the standards of riding exceeded anything we have ever seen,” said the Princess.
Going forward to tomorrow’s show jumping, which will be held under floodlights at 7.15pm local time, following an afternoon final horse inspection at 4pm, 60 combinations remain in the competition.
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