Australia’s triple Olympic team gold medalist Andrew Hoy galloped his way into the top spot with Bloom Des Hauts Crets after today’s cross-country, when rising heat and humidity provided a perfect environment to test the onsite cooling facilities for the equine and human athletes.
Sixth out onto Derek Di Grazia’s beautiful 20-fence course at Sea Forest overlooking the heart of Tokyo Bay, the seven-time Olympian and the 8-year-old Selle Français mare flew across the finish line with seven seconds to spare to take the early lead on a score of 27.7.
Hoy was thrilled to move to the top of the leaderboard. “It’s a very nice position to be in and if I win I’m very happy for this year, but it’s next year I want to win! My horse galloped very well and her heart rate and temperature were very good when I arrived. The cooling facilities here at the venue were absolutely excellent. As an Olympic venue, it’s ready one year before because the ground is excellent and the construction of the cross-country fences is very good, but next year will be very different fences.”
As the Australian combination was lying second after yesterday’s dressage phase, only overnight leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA could challenge them, but the home side star was 14 seconds down on the clock to collect 5.6 time faults and drop to fourth.
German superstar Michael Jung, another triple Olympic gold medalist heading for Tokyo 2020 as the defending champion, was second-to-last out on the track with the 7-year-old Fischerwild Wave. They too came home through the finish flags clear over the fences and on the clock to move up to second on 28.0.
“It was hot but it wasn’t really a big problem”, Jung said afterward. “The grooms and everyone took really good care of the horses and everyone tried to make the job for the horses and the riders as easy as possible. This is really fantastic here.”
Another pair for the host nation, Ryuzo Kitajima and Vick Du Gisors, were almost bang on the optimum time of 5 minutes 30 seconds to move up from fourth after the dressage to third ahead of Oiwa and Bart, with compatriot Kazuma Tomoto fractionally behind in fifth on Tacoma d’Horset. Britain’s Georgie Spence and Halltown Harley round out the top six and, amazingly, there’s less than a fence between them and the leaders.
Seven of the 16 starters remain on their dressage marks, while eight others collected just time faults. The only combination to pick up jumping penalties were cross-country pathfinders Kazuya Otomo and Condorcet, who had a runout at the second element of the angled rails double at fence 10 to drop one place to 16th.
“All the horses recovered really well after the cross-country, despite the challenging conditions, and they are all now back home in their air-conditioned stables at Baji Koen resting ready for tomorrow’s [show] jumping”, FEI Veterinary Director Goran Akerström said.
Ready Steady Tokyo test event (placings after cross-country)
1, Australia’s Bloom Des Hauts Crets (Andrew Hoy), 27.7 penalties;
2, Germany’s Fischerwild Wave (Michael Jung), 28.0;
3, Japan’s Vick Du Gisors JRA (Ryuzo Kitajima), 28.2;
4, Japan’s Bart L JRA (Yoshiaki Oiwa), 30.1;
5, Japan’s Tacoma d’Horset (Kazuma Tomoto), 30.4;
6, Great Britain’s Halltown Harley (Georgie Spence), 30.6.
The scoreboard was kept working at full tilt on cross-country today at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International as 24 of the 41 CCI4*-L starters picked up some sort of jump penalty on Derek di Grazia’s course. The leader position changed several times throughout the afternoon as 15 penalties were handed out by the ground jury, but Waylon Roberts and Lancaster kept their slate clean to take over the top spot.
Derek di Grazia’s cross-country courses at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International is the setting for all the action today in Elkton, Md. Here is what you need to know to follow along:
With 70 percent of the scores coming from the second day of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, the 4- and 5-year-olds had a big moment in front of them to impress the judges Chris Ryan and Sally Ike. The horses were judged over a set of show jumps (15 percent) then moved directly into the cross-country portion (30 percent) before finally showing off their gallop and earning an overall score for their jumping (15 percent) and general impression (10 percent).
At the end of a busy day wrapping up the dressage phase of The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day (FHI), two new riders took over the top of the leaderboards. Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville Z moved into first in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship with their 28.6, while Alexa Gartenberg and Louis M claimed the pinnacle position in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on a 25.9.