Paget slots into second behind Fox-Pitt

NEW Zealand’s Jock Paget coaxed a dazzling performance from Clifton Promise to slot into second place at the conclusion of the morning session of eventing dressage at Le Pin National Stud in Normandy. 

Paget slots into second behind Fox-Pitt
© PSV Photos

Paget’s horse was at the centre of last year’s Burghley doping case but the New Zealand rider, who has since been exonerated by an FEI tribunal, said that he was able to concentrate on his training regime “because this is the World Equestrian Games and you just have to focus. I’ve had great support and I’ve dealt with the case when I’ve had to deal with it”.

Paget, who has had Clifton Promise in regular work since last October, had just three competitive outings with the horse in the UK prior to coming to the WEG. However, he admitted that he remained confident of his gelding’s ability to tackle Pierre Michelet’s technical cross-country track.

“It’s a big course but if you ride it how Pierre is asking, that will help you to make the time. I’ve taken my horse in deeper going but only at one-day events,” added the Kiwi. “However, I’m on a powerful horse.”

Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and the stallion Chilli Morning remain at the head of the dressage leaderboard, 0.5 of a penalty in front of Paget. Michael Jung (Fischerrocana FST) has slipped to third and his teammate Ingrid Klimke (FRH Escada JS) is in fourth.

The next best entrant on the scoreboard from today’s proceedings is New Zealand individual Lucy Jackson riding Willy Do. They lie in equal seventh place.

Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers are equal 11th for France, just behind Brazilian Ruy Fonseca, who pulled off a personal best performance with Tom Bombadill Too to slot into ninth. 

“I was aiming for that kind of performance and that’s what I got,” said Fonseca, who is currently based in the UK where he trains with Mark Todd and British dressage rider Anna Ross-Davies.

While crowds were gathering at the d’Ornano Stadium in Caen for the start of the Freestyle Competition, the climax of the World Games pure Dressage contest, 23 eventers were performing in their own main arena in Le Pin.

A large band of individuals kicked off this morning’s session, Great Britain’s Oliver Townend the first of them at 9.30am. He bagged 47.2 and his smile as he left the arena was mirrored by those on the faces of the spectators sitting in the stands. They were loving the action along with the sun that warmed them at this stunning venue and provided a welcome change to days of relentless rain.

Jock Paget’s score has helped to elevate his nation into first place in the eventing team standings. Germany is second, with Team GB third and the USA in fourth with one more team rider to go for each nation during this afternoon’s final session. The host nation’s squad has risen from seventh to fifth.

The last two competitors into the arena this afternoon at around 5pm local time are New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, riding Nereo, winners of an individual bronze medal at the 2010 Kentucky World Equestrian Games, and Germany’s Sandra Auffarth, who many believe could take the lead with her great horse Opgun Louvo.

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