‘The team is in a strong position’: Tom McEwen boosts Britain’s eventing hopes with smart dressage test

  • Britain’s final rider of the Olympic eventing dressage, Tom McEwen, produced a confident and active dressage test on Toledo De Kerser to solidify a great start for the team at the Tokyo Olympics. Tom scored 28.9 penalties, putting him in 10th spot towards the end of the dressage phase. Tom was happy enough with his performance, although he said there was plenty to work on.

    “I’m very pleased in general; he coped really well in there,” said Tom. “He loves situations like that.”

    Toledo looked lively outside the boards, and started with a bang. Their early movements were good enough to challenge for the gold medal position, with an extravagant extended trot. His trotwork all earned seven-plus, but his weakest pace, the walk (extended and medium), scored a couple of fives from the Swedish judge at M, Christina Klingspor.

    “I was actually delighted with his walk today,” Tom said. “It was the two early changes that really cost me.”

    They dropped a little down the order in the canter work, with a late flying change at the start of the intense technical stage towards the end scoring fours from two judges. This then left the second change a little rushed.

    “He’s been amazing, unreal in Tokyo, so it was a shame to get 28,” Tom explained. “I know he could have scored very low 20s, even into the teens on the right day.

    “His changes are very good, very correct. I thought the preparation for them was good today, but it was a flop. They were probably too quiet, too polite.”

    However, his extended canter was fantastic, earning eights across the board.

    “We are still as a team in a strong position, and the emphasis is on cracking on tomorrow,” said Tom.

    Britain have indeed made a superb start to the competition, despite none of our riders posting personal bests. The trio are likely to head into the cross-country phase with a commanding lead. The pathfinder Oliver Townend is the long-time leader on 23.6 with his Kentucky winner Ballaghmor Class, with Laura Collett close on 25.8 with London 52.

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