Oliver Townend lies fourth after cross-country in the DHL CCI4* at Luhmühlen.
The Brit was 11th after dressage on a score of 47.6 with Karyn Shuter’s Black Tie, but one of only four clears inside the 11-minute 10-second optimum time today lifted him up the order.
“He’s gone as well as he can — he’s at his max out there and it’s just fantastic as he’s a very good friend,” said Oliver. “He’s not very big and the fences can feel very big coming to them. You need a bit of pace and a few times I changed the plan, but we got there in the end.”
The pair finished fourth in this competition back in 2014.
The top of the leaderboard has changed significantly after the riders tackled Mark Phillips’ track today.
Young German dressage leader Julia Krajewski has slipped to fifth after 10 time-faults in her first four-star cross-country with Samourai Du Thot. Time-penalties also dropped Australia’s Emma Dougall (Belcam Bear) from third to seventh and Belgium’s Julien Despontin (Waldano 36) from second to 18th. Julien was chased by a dog at one point during his round.
The home side’s Andreas Dibowski now holds first place with Susanne Heigel’s It’s Me xx after finishing one second over the time, which elevated him from fourth.
“He did a really good job today,” said Andreas. “We’ve had good preparation and been focused on this event this year. The owners, trainers and I know what we can expect of him and we got that today.”
Andreas had one awkward moment in the influential Meßmer Teich water (fences 18abc and 19ab), where horses jumped in over a big skinny log, then up a step to an angled hedge on a bounce distance, then back into the water and up another step to another angled bounce hedge.
“He was still fighting over the hedge and he immediately looked to the next jump too, so it wasn’t unsafe,” said Andreas.
France’s Maxime Livio has moved up from sixth to second with a clear in the time on Qalao Des Mers.
“My horse is incredible,” said Maxime. “We were on time up to the arena, then he asked for a little rest, then up near the last water he wanted to go again.”
The 28-year-old is making a late bid for the French team for the Rio Olympics after being out of action last year following a six-month suspension after Qalao Des Mers tested positive for the sedative acepromazine (ACP) on the dressage day at the World Equestrian Games in 2014.
New Zealand’s Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy had 1.6 time-faults and rose two places to claim third overnight.
Six other British horses completed besides Black Tie, with Oliver’s first ride Dromgurrihy Blue the only one who didn’t finish.
Louise Harwood lies 14th on Whitson after eight time-faults and 23rd on Mr Potts, who had a run-out at the Meßmer water when the horse only got one leg up the first step so couldn’t make it over the angled brush.
Coral Keen is 16th after a good jumping clear but 17.6 time-faults with Wellshead Fare Opposition.
Sarah Bullimore, who was best of the Brits after dressage in 10th, dropped down the order to 22nd after 20 jumping penalties at the second part of the bounce of barrels at 15b, after the talented but tricky Reve Du Rouet shied away from a camera clicking. Kirsty Short (25th on Cossan Lad) had a run-out at the tricky wall corner at fence 11 and Lydia Hannon (26th on My Royal Touch) had a couple of problems but completed her first four-star cross-country.
In this morning’s CIC3* Meßmer Trophy, Germany’s Sandra Auffarth and Ingrid Klimke were the only two to make the optimum time. They lie first and second with their top horses, Opgun Louvo and Horseware Hale Bob OLD.
Full report of Luhmühlen in H&H next week, out 23 June.