Great Britain has swept into the lead after cross country at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL) with three brilliant clear rounds from team rookie Ros Canter on Allstar B, Kristina Cook (Billy the Red) and anchorman Nicola Wilson (Bulana).
“Bulana is so honest and good on a line. She was in a rhythm from start to finish. It’s very exciting! We had a group team hug and a jump around!” said British team member Nicola Wilson (GBR), lying 4th individually.
But Britain has only two fences in hand over the defending champions, Germany, who are known for their skill in the final jumping phase. German duo Ingrid Klimke (Horseware Hale Bob) and triple European champion Michael Jung (FischerRocana FST) completed flawless rounds and are in individual gold and silver medal positions.
Germany slipped behind Britain when pathfinder Julia Krajewski, riding Samourai du Thot, picked up 20 penalties for a runout at fence 8 and dressage leader Bettina Hoy (Seigneur Medicott) ran out at the influential double of angled brushes at fence 4 and were then eliminated for a fall at the 10th.
“I felt under pressure for sure, but Bobby was in such good form that I was nearly laughing and really had to concentrate. We had such fun out there!” exclaimed Ingrid Klimke (GER), the individual overnight leader.
Sweden was the only nation to achieve four clear rounds and are in bronze medal position, with Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Reality 39 in individual third place.
Ten nations completed as teams, with the hosts, Poland, in sixth place behind Italy and Belgium. The French, who were second after dressage, finished with only two riders after Gwendolen Fer had a fall with Traumprinz and Thomas Carlile, lying in sixth place, was eliminated for three refusals with the stallion Upsilon.
Britain’s day started shakily when pathfinder Oliver Townend had two runouts on the inexperienced Cooley SRS, but he still completed with only 1.2 time penalties, which was one of the fastest times of the day. There were 63 completions, 35 clear rounds and four inside the optimum time of 10 minutes.
“Oliver did a great job because he never gave up and the team was fantastic. It’s where preparation meets opportunity. I get a lot of teasing from my German friends, but I am thrilled to be working with the British team again,” said Christopher Bartle, former German trainer, now training Team GB.
What promises to be a thrilling jumping finale starts at 11.00 CEST tomorrow. Follow the action on FEI TV and with live scoring at www.strzegom2017.pl
Individual result after cross country:
1. Ingrid Klimke/Horseware Hale Bob OLD (GER) 30.3 + 0 = 30.3
2. Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 32.8 + 0 = 32.8
3. Sara Algotsson Ostholt/Reality 39 (SWE) 34.2 + 0.8 = 35.0
Team result after cross country:
1. Great Britain 113.9
2. Germany 123.0
3. Sweden 128.5