We have known for nearly three years that the 2020 Olympic eventing will run on a three-to-a-team, all-scores-to-count format, but with Boekelo running the Nations Cup in this format, fans and riders have started to take in how it works.
Having worked through the format to write a guide for the H&H website, I believe one of the most confusing parts is that in some cases of elimination, a rider can continue in the subsequent phase(s) or be substituted. In other cases, the team must carry non-completion penalties in the next phase(s) as well as in the one the rider was actually eliminated in. Knowing which elimination is which is crucial.
The competition will be more confusing than the traditional drop-score format.
At Boekelo, the only teams who used the substitution rule were well down the leaderboard. But that won’t necessarily be the case in Tokyo. It doesn’t sit comfortably for any team bringing in a substitute rider — or one who showjumps despite not completing the cross-country — to receive a medal.
We are stuck with this format for Tokyo, so complaints are pointless. Instead, becoming an expert will impress during tack-room gossip next summer.
I planned to write about Dauntsey and Tweseldown in this column, with Sunday runs planned at both fixtures, but both events had to abandon.
I was climbing into the car by the time Dauntsey pulled the plug, but having walked the course at Tweseldown on Saturday, I thought it was probably even odds whether the event would run, so the 5.20am text wasn’t a surprise.
While it’s disappointing for everyone — and financially devastating for organisers — we are lucky to have swift, multi-platform communication when events cancel. Riders appreciate the fact that Tweseldown, Calmsden and Weston Park all abandoned before 5.45am.
I thought the BE90 course at Tweseldown walked strong, particularly in the wet conditions, and Saturday’s results bore this out. It’s rare to have a turn or skinny fence out of water at this level, and both at Tweseldown had a curving line and an accuracy question.
The final three-part combination on a curving line was also demanding, but wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow on perfect ground.
All credit to British Eventing (BE) and Nigel Taylor at Aston-le-Walls for trying to provide extra competition opportunities with the new fixture on 25-26 October, including a rescheduled BE90 regional final from Dauntsey. The opportunity to qualify for Badminton means so much to grassroots riders. While not everyone will be able to reroute, there were already 64 in this class and 325 entries in total less than a week after entries opened.
Ref Horse & Hound; 24 October 2019