The German superstar and FischerChipmunk FRH scored 20.1 for a definitive 9.2-penalty margin over the rest of the field at this stage. The pair were awarded 13 nines between the three judges and Christian Steiner at B gave them a 10 for their final centreline.
FischerChipmunk FRH’s work was on a different level to anything else seen so far in the competition – the test was flowing, the horse’s outline uphill and Michael placed the flying changes with unhesitating accuracy. His only tiny error was a slight movement in the mid-test halt.
“I think that was the best test I’ve ever done on him,” said Michael of the 14-year-old horse who belongs to Klaus and Sabine Fischer, Hilmer Meyer-Kulenkampff and the Germany Olympic committee for equestrian sport.
“There were small things that were better than in Tokyo – I think he’s got more powerful and spectacular, but he’s also really relaxed so I can work him through the test.
“He can be a bit shy and nervous so you have to know how to work with him. I was worried about his reaction to the spectators, but we had great timing and everything worked out.”
Speaking about his decision to bring Chipmunk here for the horse’s five-star debut, Michael said: “I have great memories here and the horses always feel good here – they feel well in the stables and there are perfect conditions on the all-weather arena and the beautiful cross-country. That all helps for a horse’s first five-star.”
The pair start the competition as favourites, with data analytics experts EquiRatings giving them a 41% win chance in the pre-event predictions.
Kentucky Three-Day Event dressage: Boyd Martin holds second
US Olympic combination Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF were the first pair to break the 30-barrier today when they scored 29.3, which currently puts them in second place. The Turner family’s horse showed some slight tension in his neck, but his work was otherwise pleasing.
“He has been a bit nervous, tight and edgy the past few days, but I rode him on the grass this morning and he took a breath, so I had a feeling we were in business,” said Boyd.
“It’s certainly more electric here with crowds and he perked up when he went round the ring. He likes crowds but there’s a point where he loses attention. In Tokyo, with no spectators, he felt a bit flat, but today he was about right.”
New Zealand rider Jonelle Price is fifth with David and Katherine Thomson’s McClaren on a score of 33.4.
“I’m pleased with him, but gutted with the mark – 62% from the judge at H is a bad test and it didn’t feel like a bad test, so I’ll need to go and take another look [on video],” she said.
“He can go a little wide behind but it felt like a solid test, a clear round with no blinding mistakes.”
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