Real big sport event at Pau
It was an exciting and highly emotional day yesterday at Pau thanks to the 2-star and the 4-star Three-day event cross country tests, under the amazed crowd of 30 000 visitors. From the early sunny morning, visitors had lots of surprises as well as they saw a high sport level.
An intense emotion on the 2 star cross test was palpable yesterday morning: on the 43 entered riders ; only 25 of them succeeded to be classified after the 3 300m course to be run in 6 mn. Finally, we have interesting results for the French competitiors: 7of them are among the 10 first and 14 of the 25 carry on competition which needs to be confirmed today, from 10 o’clock on the main arena for the jumping tests.
Intense afternoon as well on the 4 star cross-country tests. Under a bright sun, 68 competitors departed. Christopher Burton (AUS) carries on the first place on the provisional ranking with Holstein Park Leilani: he perfectly finished his course in 10 mn 24 s for 6 025 m. During the Press conference, the emerging rider explains he did not ride Newsprint who was not strong enough as he felt down some weeks ago at Burghley.
As to the other Australian, Clayton Fredericks, he made the wonderful demonstration that his Bendigo was good enough to run, here at Pau, his first 4 stars.
William Fox-Pitt’s three horses (GBR) are in the first of the provisional ranking (2nd place for Oslo, 6th for LionHeart and 9th for Macchiato). Bilingual in French, the British rider explains how all the three of them were fairly good and answered to all his sollicitations. He hopes to be lucky enough to bring them to the Olympic games at London.
As to the Pau Course, William Fox-Pitt, it is difficult even on the easy fences. According to him, the three water jumps had changed and evolved a lot since few years, even if it seems that riders are used to the print of Pierre Michelet., the cross country designer. A true thing true: we held breath when William Fox-Pitt went trough the first lake when he put Macchiato and Oslo in the right way.
What is to be noted is some abondons surely linked to the evident challenges of this course. Some riders have been encouraged to protect their horses by keeping them in their boxes. Mary King (GBR) and appache Sauce who were 11th after the dressage tests, left the course after two refusals on the 4th and the 5th fences. Andrew Nicholson (NZL) on Henry Tankerville left the competition after the first water jump which presented difficulties for more than a rider. Andrew is 4th at the provisionnal ranking with his third horse, Armada.
The HSBC FEI Classics™ final round is obviously very exciting and tight. More than ever, suspense carries on and we shouldn’t forget
that Mary King is on the 10th place with Imperial Cavalier. In case of equality, it will be William Fox Pitt the winner of the trophee as he gained points over less events than Mary King.