Infection forces defending Olympic eventing champion to change horse for Rio

  • Germany’s Michael Jung will ride La Biosthetique-Sam FBW in the eventing at the Rio Olympics as his first choice of ride, FischerTakinou, has suffered an infection.

    Takinou, the reigning European champion, won the CIC3* at Aachen on his final prep run last week. But Michael announced today on his Facebook page that the horse is out of action with an infection — using the emoji for “feeling devastated”.

    “Today I have to write the worst news of the year,” he said, explaining that the decision not to travel Takinou has been taken with his family, coaches and team vet Dr Carsten Rohde.

    Sam — as he will be known at the Games when commercial prefixes and suffixes are stripped from horses’ names — won individual and team gold at the London 2012 Olympics with Michael.

    He is now 16 years old, but continues to show brilliant form — he won Burghley last year and Badminton this spring, allowing Michael to clinch the Rolex Grand Slam of eventing. He too had a run in Aachen where he finished sixth.

    Back to back titles?

    The fact Sam is heading to Brazil raises the possibility of him winning individual back-to-back gold medals, something which only two horses have ever done before in eventing — Marcroix, in 1928 and 1932 with the Netherlands’ Charles Pahud de Mortanges, and Charisma, with New Zealand’s Mark Todd in 1984 and 1988.

    Continued below…

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    Michael will ride in the German team alongside reigning world champion Sandra Auffarth on Opgun Louvo, Ingrid Klimke on Hale Bob OLD and Andreas Ostholt, who makes his Olympic debut on So Is Et. The travelling reserve is Julia Krajewski with Samourai Du Thot.

    The full definite entries for the equestrian events in Rio were released by the FEI yesterday, but of course substitutions can still be made in the case of injury.

    Don’t miss H&H’s full Olympci preview in 28 July issue, plus pull-out form guide and exclusive interview with Michael Jung in 4 August issue.

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