‘The best Olympics ever’: statistics predict high hopes for British eventers in Tokyo

  • British event riders are predicted to take at least two individual medals at the Tokyo Games, although Michael Jung is predicted to win gold.

    According to data analysis company Equiratings’s SAP Eventing Prediction Centre, Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class have a 15% chance of taking individual gold, followed by Laura Collett and London 52, and Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser, both on 13%. But the Brits will need to fight off German rider and Michael Jung, who has taken individual eventing gold at the last two Olympics, on Fischerchipmunk FRH who have been predicted as having a 26% chance of winning.

    The Equirating’s Eventing Prediction Centre is a statistical model using SAP predictive technology to forecast the results of major eventing competitions before and during the event. The model simulates events 10,000 times pre-competition and after each phase and updates its projected leaderboard and the estimated probability of victory, podium or top-10 finish for each combination, factoring in past performance at events and in the different phases.

    The predictions suggest Michael Jung has a 48% chance of a top-three placing, Oliver 35%, Tom 34%, and Laura 29%. Michael has a 78% chance of a top-10 placing, while Tom has a 69%, Oliver 66%, and Laura 58%.

    Other predictions state that US rider Phillip Dutton and Z has a five percent chance of taking individual gold, but a 60% chance of a top-10 finish. Kiwis Tim and Jonelle Price have a 29% and 36% chance of a top-10 with Vitali and Grovine De Reve respectively, and only a one percent chance of taking the gold medal.

    Equiratings co-founder Diarmuid Byrne told H&H the company is “very proud” of the prediction centre model, which accurately forecast that Laura Collett and London 52 would win the CCI5*-L at Pau in 2020.

    “The prediction centre is a complex model, which takes into account thousands of data points and looks at every single mark of every horse for many years, as well as the level of competition,” he said.

    ““The model also has a weighting towards the more recent runs, because doing a 21 dressage in your last run is more important than doing it 10 runs ago. It’s basic when you say it out loud but that’s what our scientists spend their time doing, they work out the importance of a weighting, and things like how many of these horses have done a five-star test before – those are the things we can control.”

    Diarmuid added that the model cannot factor in things such as humidity, and the fact the competition is the Olympics.

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    “It’s going to have a lot of atmosphere, but also possibly not going to have any with no fans so there’s going to be huge nerves I’m sure from the riders, but maybe the horses will think it’s a two-star arena and no one’s watching them!” he said.

    Equiratings will soon release its team predictions, and Diarmuid said teams having only three counting scores means fans can expect a different Games to any other.

    “There’s no drop score now and every single mistake will count. I think it will be the best Olympics ever in terms of excitement even though none of us are there and we’re going to go on a massive rollercoaster,” he said.

    To view the full predictions visit Equiratings.

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