The battle for team dressage medals has come down to a nail-biting conclusion as the final riders from each nation prepare to give their all in their quest for Tokyo Olympic glory.
The new Olympic format means that the team anchors from each nation have been drawn in reverse order of standing, based on results from each country’s first two combinations in the grand prix special (27 July).
Germany, Britain and the US respectively hold gold, silver and bronze, but the other nations are not far behind and with no drop score, the final standings really will come down to the last rider.
Rodrigo Torres will be the first rider into the arena aboard the 11-year-old grey stallion Fogoso at 8.55pm Tokyo time (12.55pm BST). He will be followed by Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino OLD 10 minutes later.
Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Elegance will carry Spain’s chances at 9.15pm (1.15pm BST). Spain, which is lying sixth as a team, is the only nation so far to have invoked the new in-competition substitution rule. Beatriz’s team-mate José Antonio García Mena, who rode Sorento 15 in the grand prix, rode Divina Royal in the team final to score 73.75%.
Edward Gal and the Totilas son, Total US, are next up under the floodlights at 9.25pm (1.25pm BST), which may shake up the team leaderboard.
Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Bohemian, who produced a +80% score in the grand prix, will be seeking to push their team up the leaderboard. The Danes are currently in fourth place and a strong performance from this pair at 9.35pm (1.35pm BST) could result in a team medal.
It then comes down to the final three.
Sabine Schut-Kerry and Saneco, who scored a personal best in the grand prix of 78.42%, will start for the US at 9.45pm (1.45pm BST).
Two-time defending Olympic individual champion Charlotte Dujardin and her senior championship debutant Gio will be the penultimate combination to enter at A at 9.55pm (1.55pm BST).
Last into the arena at 10.05pm (2.05pm BST) and riding to hold onto team gold, will be Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera, who posted the highest score across all groups in the grand prix, 84.38%.
Hold on tight, it’s about to get exciting…!
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