Four showjumpers from four different nations will fight it out tomorrow night in Kentucky for World Equestrian Games gold, silver and bronze. One is going to be very disappointed.
Philippe Le Jeune (BEL), Eric Lamaze (CAN), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Abdullah Al Sharbatly (KSA), made up the top four in tonight’s two round qualifier, from which any faults were added to those accrued during the team competition. Tomorrow at 8:30pm (1:30am BST) these four will ride their own and each other’s horses round a shortened course to decide the World Champion.
Lamaze, Al Sharbatly and Le Jeune all posted double clears this evening, whereas Pessoa, who was in the lead coming into tonight’s competition after four clear rounds, had four faults over the first course on HH Rebozo.
Lamaze said he most looked forward to riding HH Rebozo tomorrow, just as Pessoa said he fancied jumping Lamaze’s ride Hickstead.
“He’s been such a successful horse with Eric and he looks a lot of fun,” said Pessoa.
Al Sharbatly, a newcomer to World Championship level, is the only rider whose horse has posted five clear rounds here.
He said: “I bought this horse for the next Olympics, my target here was just to qualify for 2012. But of course nobody comes to a World championship not wanting to win and we will see what happens tomorrow. I have a lot of respect for these three top riders and I think tomorrow will be a great competition.”
Robert Smith, the only British rider to finish in the top 30 of the team competition to reach the individual, had three fences down with his own and the Cornish’s Talan in the first round and opted not to contest the second.
“He’s done enough,” Robert told Horse & Hound. “We weren’t going to make the top four so there was no point jumping the final round, but I’m really pleased with how he’s gone throughout the games, he’s proved he’s a great horse.”
For more analysis from Robert Smith and the top four don’t miss Horse & Hound 14 October issue