New Zealand dressage rider John Thompson has withdrawn his 17-year-old Anamour gelding JHT Antonello from the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina.

“AJ” flew to the USA from New Zealand in July, and received treatment in Kentucky after not feeling fully fit on arrival. Despite being given the all-clear, the horse has been in discomfort since his arrival at the Games, and has been withdrawn from competition as a result.

“I am absolutely devastated,” said the 28-year-old rider. “This would have to be the lowest point of my competition career. I feel AJ is not 100% after being transported into Tryon, and in the best interest of my mate, we’ve made the decision to withdraw.

“While this is not the end I wanted for our Games, I will take a lot of learning away with me and put that to good use in the future.”

New Zealand will now have just one dressage representative, Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten.

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Two riders have been asked to re-present their horses tomorrow after this morning’s dressage trot-up.

Australia’s Alexis Hellyer was sent to the holding box with Bluefields Floreno (pictured above), and after trotting for a second time was asked to re-present the 13-year-old chestnut stallion tomorrow morning before the grand prix gets under way. The remaining Australian team horses were all accepted.

The ride of Portugal’s Vasco Mira Godinho, the 12-year-old grey stallion Bariloche, will also be re-presented tomorrow morning. The Rouxinol son was asked to trot twice today, before being sent to the holding box.

All four British horses — Emile Faurie’s Dono Di Maggio, Carl Hester’s Hawtins Delicato, Charlotte Dujardin’s Mount St John Freestyle (pictured above) and Spencer Wilton’s Super Nova II — sailed through the trot-up and were accepted without problems.

The Japanese team horse Egistar, the ride of Kiichi Harada, was asked to trot twice but was then accepted. Russia’s Inessa Merkulova had a nervous wait as the ground jury deliberated, but her 14-year-old gelding Mister X was accepted.

The first day of grand prix competition gets under way tomorrow (12 September) at 8.45am local time (1.45pm UK time), with the draw taking place this evening.

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