‘He answered every question’: Holly Smith and Denver make good start for Britain in Olympic team showjumping

  • Holly Smith and Denver made a good start to Britain’s campaign in the Olympic showjumping team qualifier at the Tokyo Games, lowering just one rail to finish on four faults.

    In their first competitive appearance in the ring this week, as Harry Charles and Romeo 88 replaced them in the individual competition, the combination looked strong and positive as they tackled the tough track, around which only one combination had jumped clear as they went in.

    “I was absolutely delighted with the horse who is, believe it or not relatively low in experience at this level, and obviously with us having not completed the individual competition, it’s quite something to go in there,” Holly said.

    “I feel like neither of us have jumped a course for months! It’s not that long, but that’s what it feels like.

    “I’m just really really pleased with him, he answered every question. I’m delighted for the owners and hopefully it’s a good enough performance to get us through to tomorrow.”

    Ian Dowie’s 13-year-old KWPN gelding had rattled the water tray, which stayed up, but he went on to catch the 1.65m oxer at fence 11.

    “The last line was always going to be difficult; I think my mistake just before the last line maybe helped me a little bit, it gave us both a bit of a wake-up call,” Holly said.

    “I chose to add a stride to the double of planks at the end; everywhere else I went on the forward stride, so I always knew it was going to be hard work for me to get that extra stride and I had to work super, super hard to do that. In previous competitions. I’ve always chosen the open distances to doubles like that and always made mistakes. So I thought, I’ve been practising at home, obviously, but I thought it was between that and the other and I thought, if I don’t try something different I won’t forgive myself.”

    Their round put Britain equal on faults with the US, but as Holly’s round was faster than that of Laura Kraut and Baloutinue, this would place Britain in front of America in terms of qualifying for tomorrow’s (7 August) Olympic team showjumping final.

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