Classic clear leaves Swede in the lead
"I'm very pleased indeed. He is the one with the best results up to now," said the Swede. "My horse feels great, but he wished that this had been the last course. But he is very pleased to have so much support from his sponsor and his owner!"
France’s Patrice Delaveau’s Orient Express HDC was clear too, and he is now lying second, jumping above overnight leaders Beezie Madden and Cortes C, who made their first mistake of the week when they turned tight to the oxer at 5 and took out the front rail.
Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour have moved up to fourth from their original eighth slot thanks to a lovely clear round and the mistakes made by their rivals.
There has been yet more drama in this endlessly fascinating World Equestrian Games Jumping accumulator, not least when French favourite Penelope Leprevost, lying seventh, ended up on the floor after her chestnut mare Flora De Mariposa put a leg back in the water jump (6), fell to her knees and decanted her jockey.
Leprevost’s partner Kevin Staut, lying 11th, had already plummeted from contention with two down aboard Reveur De Hurtebise HDC.
Fifth-placed Rodrigo Pessoa’s Status put a hoof on the tape of the water (6), while sixth-placed Gregory Wathelet saw his chances evaporate when his stallion Conrad De Hus ducked out at the third element of the treble (8c) to finish with a final score of 15.
In fact, there have been some hefty scores notched up in some unexpected quarters, the French supporters in the crowd groaning with disappointment when Simon Delestre’s Qlassic Bois Margot dislodged three fences for 12 faults, the same score as recorded by The Netherlands’ World team gold medallist Gerco Schroder’s Glock’s London NOP.
Olympic Champion leads the way
Six horses had already jumped before there was a clear round in this reverse-order contest, from Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets, who were lucky that the back rail of the final part of the triple (8c) stayed in its cups after the bay gelding gave it a serious rap with a hind leg. They set off a spate of further clears, from US-based Irishman Darragh Kenny and KWPN Imothep, Shaikh Ali bin Khali Al Thani and his consistent mare Vienna Olympic, McLain Ward and Rothchild and Jeroen Dubbeldam (Zenith SFN), all of whom leapt through the leaderboard as a result and put themselves within striking distance of one of those top four slots that will earn a ticket to Sunday’s final.
A number of qualified riders, some of them high profile, did not come forward for this first round — no doubt with the final of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Barcelona in a month’s time in mind. Withdrawals included Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum and Christian Ahlmann, Kent Farrington for the US and Yann Candele of Canada.
Columbia’s Carlos Lopez kicked off the action at 1.25pm local time, notching up four faults at the influential Land Rover oxer at 10 with his Selle Francais gelding Prince De La Mare, hinting at the expensive rounds that would follow.
There were a total of eight completely clear rounds, with two clears marred by a single time fault, for day-one speed class winner Bertram Allen and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander.
What happens next?
During an hour’s break the course will be changed and the riders will walk the new track. At around 5pm local time, after 21 competitors have jumped again, we will know which final four will be going through to tomorrow’s exciting finale to decide the worthy World Champion.
Start of Round at 3.48pm. To see the start list, please CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE to see the live results from the individual Jumping competition