Britain off to a solid start in showjumping at WEG: ‘These aren’t speed horses; they will come into their own tomorrow’

Britain is off to a solid start in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch-sponsored showjumping at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, USA, after two team members jumped in the speed leg this morning (Wednesday, 19 September).

William Funnell led off for Team GBR and put in a clear round with The Billy Stud’s Billy Buckingham in 87.25sec. He currently lies 30th out of 62 competitors.

“Speed is not his strong point as he’s a big strong horse,” said William. “Hopefully we have three faster horses for the time today. The main thing is that he jumped well and as the jumps get bigger later in the week, he’ll come into his own.

“I was lucky to go early — it’ll be warmer for the others. It’s good to have a good start and get everybody’s heads up a bit and hopefully we won’t be far away [in the team standings].”

Britain’s second rider, Holly Smith, had just the second part of the green double at fence 11 down with Hearts Destiny, who belongs to TJ Hall Limited, his rider and her husband Graham. They finished in 83.17sec and then added 4sec for the pole down and hold 29th place at the lunchbreak.

“I needed to be faster than William as we wanted him to be our discard score today, so the tactic was to have a go without upsetting the horse. We are banking on him to jump the big tracks,” said Holly. “He felt amazing in there for such a green horse and we just had one mistake. Di [Lampard], British chef d’equipe] was pleased with the horse.”

At the end of today’s competition, riders’ scores are converted into penalties which they take forward into the next days of jumping. The best three scores will count for each team.

Colombian rider Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo is the current leader on Admara, in a time of 77.96sec.

“He’s a fighter and fast — I don’t think it’s enough to win, but hopefully it’s enough for my target, which is to be between first and eighth,” said Carlos.

The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager is currently second Sterrehof’s Calimero, with Japan’s Karen Polle third on her own With Wings.

“I’m in shock — I never expected this in a million years,” said Karen. “It’s a really special moment and I’m just trying to enjoy it because you work so hard for this.”

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Ireland’s pathfinder Shane Sweetnam set an early target with his own and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Chazqui Z and now lies fourth on 80.19.

“He’s not a speed merchant, but you can trust him on turns and options,” said Shane.

Shane Breen was Ireland’s second rider with Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker, who belongs to Breen Equestrian and Jos Lansink Horses. He had the second part of the double down at fence 11 to finish on 88.26.

“I’m not disappointed, I’m very pleased — he just got a bit wound up,” said Shane.

Keep up to date with all the news from Tryon on horseandhound.co.uk

Horse & Hound’s bumper magazine reports from WEG will be in the issues dated 20 September (dressage and eventing) and 27 September (showjumping and para dressage).

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