Final Countdown Begins With 66 Through First Horse Inspection
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Blair Castle (GBR)- The Ground Jury of President Sue Baxter (GBR), Andrew Bennie (NZL) and Sándor Fulop (HUN), all smartly clad in Scottish tartan, passed all the horses except one, Igor Atrokhov’s Russian team horse Indigo Pyreneen.
A total of 66 combinations will go forward to the Dressage phase which starts at 10.00 tomorrow with a Guinea Pig test by Scottish rider Olivia Wilmot on Zebedee de Foja.
The Netherlands, reigning world bronze medallists, have been drawn first to go of the 11 teams: Theo van de Vendel riding Zindane will be first into the Dressage arena at 10.20. Ireland, fielding Joseph Murphy (Sportsfield Othello) as pathfinder, is second, followed by Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, reigning champions Germany, Russia, France, Sweden, Spain and Belgium.
William Fox-Pitt (GBR), again the anchorman for the British team, had to hang on tight to Bay My Hero as the Irish Sport Horse showed his wellbeing by prancing and bucking down the trot-up strip. Fox-Pitt, 46, is competing in his 10th European Championship. His tally of 10 medals, which includes six team golds, equals the record set by Lucinda Green (GBR), a back-to-back champion in 1975 and 1977.
Tomorrow will be a big day for Kitty King (GBR); riding Persimmon, she will make her team debut in the pathfinding slot for the British team, who are anxious to uphold honour on home ground. Nicola Wilson (One Two Many) and former dual European champion Pippa Funnell (Sandman 7) take the second and third team slots.
The hugely experienced combination of Dirk Schrade (GER) and Hop And Skip will go first for Germany, followed by Michael Jung on the eight-year-old Anglo Arab FischerTakinou, world champions Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo and, finally, Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob.
It is a first visit to Blair Castle for Jung, who comes fresh from his brilliant Burghley CCI4* win on Sunday. “This is a wonderful place and a beautiful course,” said the defending champion, who will be performing his Dressage test tomorrow afternoon. “When you look down [on the showground] from the top of the hill, it all looks so small! My horse is feeling very happy and relaxed and I’m looking forward to starting.”
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