AUSTRALIAN husband and wife duo Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks are lying in first and second place at the Olympic three-day event in Hong Kong after the first session of dressage.
Clayton, who was sixth into the arena at the Sha Tin venue at 7.05am, earned a score of 37 penalties with Ben Along Time, but he relinquished his lead when Lucinda and her Badminton and Burghley winning mare Headley Britannia performed their test towards the end of the first morning session.
Britannia’s mark of 30.4 for this slightly shortened version of a four-star test was a personal best at top level and included a perfect 10 from judge Christian Landolt for her final flying change.
“She always gets good marks for her changes,” said Lucinda. “She’s not flashy, but very correct and the judges appreciate this and that she shows big differences with her little body. However, the dressage is the easy part for me and we’ve got a long way to go from here.”
Mid-way through Clayton’s test there was a pro-Tibet protest in the stands which was quickly quelled by the on-site security. Although Clayton was aware of the noise and commotion, which lasted around a minute, Ben Along Time’s concentration was not affected.
America’s Gina Miles and McKinlaigh were the only other pair to break the 40 barrier, earning 39.3, a personal best for them which has left them in third place.
Britain’s pathfinders Daisy Dick and Spring Along scored 51.7, which has left them in 13th place. The 15-year-old bay lost marks for spooking during his test.
“It had been so soft and beautiful up to that point,” said Daisy. “I’m disappointed with my mark, but at the same time we all know what he’s capable of and it could have been in the mid-sixties.”
Disappointment for Britain
William Fox-Pitt is lying in 11th place after a tense Parkmore Ed gained a mark of 50.2.
“He’s been lit up since he’s been here, but I had hoped he would do better than that,” said William.
First into the arena this morning, Mark Todd, who has returned to the sport after an absence of eight years, is occupying ninth place with Gandalf.
At the end of this first dressage session and with the next due to start at 7.15pm Hong Kong time, Great Britain is lying off the pace in sixth place in the team standings. Australia leads, with the US in second, Sweden in third, Germany in fourth and Italy fifth.
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