Spencer Wilton leads field to get British Olympic dressage team off to a flying start in Rio

  • After the first two groups this morning, Britain’s Spencer Wilton is sitting in equal first individually with Super Nova II. They scored 72.686% — exactly the same score as America’s Allison Brock (Rosevelt).

    Spencer’s lowest score, 70.2%, came from the American judge Gary Rockwell who is at H. His highest, 74.7%, was awarded by the Mexican judge Maribel Alonso, who is presiding from M.

    There are still two team riders to come to complete the first rotation — from the Netherlands and Germany, though they ride after lunch.

    Super Nova (Neville) spotted one of the TV cameras, then spooked and spun while he was going round the edge before starting.

    “It was a big occasion in there for him — and for me,” said Spencer.

    “He had a little moment and I thought, ‘Not here Neville, of all places!’. That unnerved him, which I think showed in the first part of the test,” said Spencer. “but he relaxed and got into it. The camera rattled us both, but it’s the same for everyone in there and it’s no good making excuses.”

    The judges gave lots of eights for the passage work.

    “I was particularly pleased about the pirouettes too as those can be tricky, but I will be having nightmares about the mistake in the one-time changes,” he said.

    Continued below…

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    After scoring 77.5% in the grand prix at Hartpury, hopes of a score around the 75% mark were high for this combination.

    “I would have liked a higher score to take a bit of pressure off Fiona,” he added. “But I hope that my score’s good enough to get into the special. I want to go back in there!”

    Stars and stripes

    America’s rider Allison, on the same score as Spencer, said: “I’ve been riding Rosevelt for seven years and we’re like a married couple at this point.

    “He had a rough ride to becoming a grand prix horse and really struggled with the one-times. He can be a playful monster in the jog [trot-up] but he’s a really sweet horse.”

    Allison Brock (USA) riding Rosevelt at the Rio Olympics

    Allison Brock (USA) riding Rosevelt at the Rio Olympics

    The rider currently in third is Sweden’s reserve combination of Mags Hendeliowitz and Jimmie Choo SEQ, who got the late call-up when team horse Dante Weltino did not pass the vet check or his reinspection the following day. The scored 71.771%. Canada’s Medan Lane (Cavavella) is fourth with 71.286%, while Anders Dahl and Selten are in fifth have the highest sub-70% score (69.9%).

    The next British team rider into the arena is Fiona Bigwood, who goes at 15.06 Brazilian time (19.06 UK time) with Orthilia.

    Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin both ride tomorrow, the second of two days of grand prix competition. Carl ries at 11.27 (15.27 UK time) and Charlotte at 14.24 (18.24 UK time).

    Follow all the action with H&H’s live, interactive text service and expert comments on all the tests from Olympic rider Emile Faurie.

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