They came, they rode and they won – for the third Asian Games in a row the Republic of Korea's equestrian Dressage squad took the gold medal in the team finals.
Winning by 65.777 points and never seriously challenged in this event, the team's victory gave Suh Jung Kyun (KOR), riding the huge grey stallion Caleostro, 11, his sixth gold medal in Asian Games Dressage dating back to Seoul, 1986 – an absolute record.
The real dramatic finish happened in the battle for the silver medal when Malaysia, with 64.222%, overtook Japan on 64.185. Until the fourth rider, Japan had felt like they could keep the silver in their bag but Yukiko Noge could not make up what her team-mates had missed beforehand.
Malaysia took silver for the second time and two members of the medal team from the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand were in Doha Â– Mohd Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil and the Swedish bred Chagall Junior, now 21, both with different partners at their third Games.
The 26-year-old Malaysian jumper Mohd Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil and Rhineland bred Charming (by Champus) turned in a score of 66 per cent and backed the good performance of his sister Quzandria Nur Mahamad Fathil (65.278 %). With 64.185%, Japan took the team bronze.
Hong Kong finished fourth in their first team outing at Asian Games (61.093) in front of Chinese Taipei (60.037), Qatar (60.037) and Kazakhstan (58.815).
He is a Dancing Boy indeed and with four gold medals also the most successful horse in the history of the Asian Games. In a daring ride to a very difficult choreography Choi Jun Sang from Korea won the freestyle dressage final at the 15th Asian Games (final result 67.128%). Riding Dancing Boy, now 10, Choi devised an exciting performance as a perfect replica of their winning tour at the previous Asian Games in Busan, where the pair had taken individual and team gold as well.
Japan's Yukiko Noge, a 34-year old dentist who trains with Jo Hinnemann in Germany, presented a flowing and harmonious performance that gave her and her mount Lanchester Kouko, 12, the precious silver medal that she longed for after gaining bronze in the previous day's team competition (final result 66.572%).
Malaysian Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil, 26, won his first individual dressage medal by getting the best out of the big movements of the German stallion Charming. A truly charming ride gave the Malaysian globe-trotter, who divides his time between dressage and jumping in Malaysia and Europe, a score of 68.900% as well as the bronze.
Suh Jung Kyun (KOR), the most successful equestrian at Asian Games, failed to add a record eight medal to his tally. His downfall started in the second qualifier, when he dropped from the medal positions by making a costly course error. Suh took big risks by riding very difficult lines with the big grey stallion Caleostro, formerly trained by Annegrete Toernblad-Jensen, but failed to deliver the correct technical execution.
The full results are available on the official website of the 15th Asian Games, www.doha-2006.com.