Germany’s Michael Jung stands at the head of affairs after the CCI4* cross-country at Luhmühlen. The shocking news of Benjamin Winter’s fatal fall at fence 20 was released after the conclusion of the 2nd phase of the competition.
Last out on course, the Olympic, World and European champion delivered yet another masterclass of cross-country riding on fischerRocana FST, a 9-year-old mare contesting her first CCI4* (pictured top competing at Les Etoiles de Pau CIC2**). Michael rode a fast and economical round to finish 3sec inside the 11min 24sec optimum.
“She is a very good jumper with a very good mind,” he said.
New Zealander Tim Price lies in 2nd place with Wesko. He, too, finished on a clean sheet.
“He’s a naturally fast horse, but this was his first CCI4* so it was slightly uncharted territory,” said Tim.
William Fox-Pitt withdrew Cool Mountain, who was lying 3rd after dressage, reporting that he “didn’t feel 100%” this morning.
There were 26 clear jumping efforts from the 47 starters, with 11 completing the cross-country clear and inside the time.
Overnight dressage leader Lucinda Fredericks parted company with Flying Finish at fence 22a, a large brush oxer on top of a mound.
There were 6 rider falls and 2 horse falls – one for Benjamin Winter and the other for Georgie Spence, whose Wii Limbo hit a relatively straightforward oxer at fence 5 and fell. Georgie was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken collarbone.
Speaking at a press conference held later in the afternoon, course-designer Captain Mark Phillips said: “A lot of people thought this year’s course was easier than last year’s. It was a sunny day and the footing was great. But we had 2 bad falls at straightforward fences which is worrying [for the sport]. Where do we go now? What do we do?”
Capping a sad day, Tom Crisp’s ride, Liberal, collapsed and died of a suspected ruptured aorta after jumping the 7th fence.