While Great Britain has a strong lead in the team competition at Tokyo 2020 after the second session of dressage, the USA has climbed up two places to ninth courtesy of Phillip Dutton’s score of 30.5 on Z.
The 13-year-old, who is owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Simon Roosevelt, and Thomas Tierney, lies in 12th place individually, less than half a mark behind New Zealand’s Jesse Campbell (Diachello, 30.1)
Dutton said: “I was really pleased. I would have liked a bit of a better score, but at the end of the day, my horse went really well and did what I asked, so I can’t be too disappointed. He’s generally a hot horse, but he’s getting more and more seasoned and more and more trained, and I was pretty proud of him actually - there’s no crowd, but you are under the lights, it’s a different situation, and there’s a lot to look at, and he was really in tune with me.
“The great thing about our sport and working with horses is that they keep improving all the time, and if you can keep them competing and sound, then they keep getting better and better, and that’s the way he is. He’s a better, more seasoned horse than he was this time last year.”
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg, the US’s remaining combination, are in the third and final dressage session tonight.
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class have held on to their individual lead for Britain; no one in the second rotation of team riders overtook their score of 23.6, nor Alex Hua Tian’s 23.9 aboard Don Geniro for China. And Julia Krajewsi (GER) has maintained her third place on 25.2 with Amande De B’Neville.
Britain’s Laura Collett slotted into fourth with London 52. Her score of 25.8 was perhaps not what the Olympic debutante might have hoped for; the trot work was excellent, but a stuttery transition into the counter-canter meant that the influential canter zig-zag wasn’t perfect, and this new test has no place for mistakes to be remedied.
Collett admitted: “I’m a bit disappointed because it wasn’t the test he can do - this year he’s been very close to Ballaghmor Class, so he was a good target, but unfortunately, it didn’t come off today. He sucked back a bit and wasn’t really taking me. He just didn’t want to show off in the way I know he can.”
The two other new entrants into the top 10 as it stands are India’s individual competitor Fouaad Mirza, who produced a very pleasing test on the former Bettina Hoy ride Seigneur, and Swedish team member Louise Romeike (Cato 60). Both scored 28 and share seventh place.
Sweden now sits in second place in the team competition; their combined score so far of 56.10 is 6.7 penalties behind Great Britain’s 49.4. The home nation of Japan is third - their second rider, Toshiyuki Tanaka, managed 32.7, added to Kazumo Tomoto’s impressive 25.9 - with a total of 58.6.
The Chinese squad must be delighted to find themselves fourth (59.1), with mighty Germany behind them in fifth with 59.3. The second German rider, former World Champion Sandra Auffarth, could only produce a score of 34.1 on Viamant Du Matz for 38th place at this stage.
New Zealand is sixth with 61, while the reigning Olympic champions, France, are seventh on a total of 62.8 - 0.1 of a penalty ahead of Switzerland.
The USA’s total of 63.5 leaves them ninth, one ahead of Australia (63.8, 10th place).
Cross-country starts at 7.30 A.M. on Saturday local time, and Philip Dutton, individual bronze medallist in Rio in 2016, looked ahead to that test, saying: “It’s a lot to do in terms of turning and twisting and getting away from the jumps, and there are some gallop sections, but there are areas where there is a lot to do.
I am going to spend as much time as I can getting to know the course well, so I can shave off every second that I can and figure out how close I can get to the jumps before I need to steady up. I think it is a course that you have to understand and get thinking ahead before the next combination comes up, so you know really where to go. A lot of the bigger ones [events] are a bit more open and galloping, and you can see the jumps a lot more and where you are going, whereas this track is not like that at all.”
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