Major medal contender out of Rio Paralympic dressage

  • Italy’s Sara Morganti was left bitterly disappointed this morning after her grade Ia ride Royal Delight was not cleared to compete at the Rio Paralympics.

    The 11-year-old mare was required to re-present this morning, after yesterday’s trot-up at the equestrian competition venue in Deodoro, but was not passed.

    The four other horses reinspected this morning were all passed. They were Pepo Puch’s Fontainenoir (AUT) and Roldolpho Riskalla’s Warenne (BRA) as well as two Danish horses: Stinna Kaastrup’s Smarties and Caroline Nielsen’s Leon.

    “Last night was pretty stressful after everything we’ve been through to come here,” said Rodolpho, who was very emotional when Warenne was finally cleared to compete. “This morning the stress just disappeared. It’s amazing to be here riding in this big stadium with so many people screaming and cheering.”

    All five British horses passed the trot-up yesterday without problems. The ride of Belgium’s Michele George, Rainman, and Robyn Andrews’ Fanciana (CAN) were sent to the holding box, but later passed.

    Sara would have been one of Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham’s biggest challengers in the grade Ia section, and her absence from competition will undoubtedly shake up the leaderboard. Sara, who used to showjump and event until progressive multiple sclerosis left her unable to walk, has been on a winning streak with Royal Delight since the 2015 Europeans.

    Competition got underway this morning in Deodoro, with the grade III team test. Lee Pearson will be the first British rider in action, competing in the grade Ib team test at 6.18pm BST. Sophie Wells, Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham will ride tomorrow, while Natasha Baker will perform her team test on Tuesday.

    More information about how to follow the Paralympic dressage can be found here, and don’t forget to stay tuned to the H&H website for the latest news, results and scores.

    Don’t miss our full Paralympic report in the 22 September issue of H&H.

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