Their score of 25.8 means they are in touch of the leaders. The pair are just 2.2pen behind teammates Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, who head the provisional standings (23.6) – making this a strong start, although Laura admitted she is a little disappointed in the context of what this horse can do.
Laura, 31, and the 12-year-old gelding, who she co-owns with Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott, have scored 21 and 20.5 in the first phase of their last two international starts.
“I was a bit disappointed, because it wasn’t the test that he can do,” said Laura, adding she was aiming for around the 21/22 mark on this her Olympic debut.
“This year he’s been very close to Ballaghmor Class and so he was a good target. But unfortunately it didn’t come off today.
“He just sucked back a little bit and wasn’t really taking me. He just didn’t want to show off like I know he can. So obviously I know some people would be pleased with a 25, but on a horse like him it is a bit disappointing.”
The pair’s early trot work earned a strong smattering of eights, with the trot-half passes and halt to rein-back particular highlights under the spotlights at Baji Koen in the second session of eventing dressage (30 July).
“To be honest, he’s been very full of himself and very fresh [this week],” she added. “He was quite naughty yesterday and then came out this morning and was lovely. He came out this afternoon and he just wasn’t really going. Maybe he did did his work this morning, which was a shame, but he hasn’t shown any signs of [doing that] all week or all year.
“[Tonight] he was slightly more the old London 52 that would suck back in the arena. But look, he’s still young and inexperienced and hopefully he’ll have learned something from it.”
Asked whether the lack of crowds may have affected him, Laura added: “Definitely, he is a show off. When we went to Bicton and it was the first time we had proper crowds for a bit, he definitely went in the arena and grew and loved it.
“Maybe that [atmosphere was] lacking a little bit and he didn’t realise that they were all watching at home on TV!”
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