‘I wouldn’t swap him for anything’: Tom McEwen goes fourth despite early error as Britain sets new World Champs record

  • Britain’s Tom McEwen has shot into joint fourth on the World Eventing Championships dressage leaderboard riding his Olympic individual silver medallist, Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Tom’s mother Ali’s Toledo De Kerser.

    Tom and the 15-year-old Diamant De Semilly gelding earned 25.6 – the same score as New Zealand’s Monica Spencer – for their performance between the white boards, elevating Britain’s hopes of maintaining their overnight team lead going into cross-country day. It also means Britain has achieved a new record team dressage score at a World Championship, with one rider yet to go.

    The test didn’t get off to an ideal start when Toledo broke to canter early in his first medium trot, with marks of four and five sending their trending score plummeting. Tom admitted afterwards, “it wasn’t our best test”. However, the rest of their smart trot section, which included accurate lateral work, plus a super canter tour pulled their marks back up.

    Highlights included the pair’s crisp flying changes, fluent canter half-passes and powerful extended canter, which received nines across the board from judges Christina Klingspor, Peter Gray and Christian Steiner.

    “I didn’t have him enough from the leg going in, probably, and then there’s a little bit of a recovery process [after the mistake],” said Tom as he reflected on his test. “But it happens, and it was fine and he was brilliant.

    “To come back and actually produce a really good test, especially the canter work was excellent,” said Tom, adding that Toledo’s way of going was not quite as high-quality as it had been at Badminton, where they scored 23.4 on grass, with “a better frame probably and a bit better rhythm”.

    “But I’m really pleased with him. It’s always been the case that, for whatever reason, he loves the grass and on a surface [as in Pratoni] he can just every now and again go a little bit like this. I’m looking forward to the next two phases on grass. And I wouldn’t swap him for anything for the rest of it. It’s perfect to be here on him.”

    Just one British combination are left to complete their World Eventing Championships dressage phase: Oliver Townend with Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s Ballaghmor Class, who will enter the ring at 4.54pm local time (3.54pm BST). Depending on their performance, the team could yet improve on their new record score.

    Laura Collett and London 52 still hold a commanding lead at this stage of the competition, having scored a personal best of 19.3 on day one of the championships, while British individual Yasmin Ingham lies second on 22 with Banzai Du Loir and team member Ros Canter (Lordships Graffalo) sits in ninth position on 26.2.

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