Olympic triple-team gold medalist Andrew Hoy of Australia made his way to first place with Bloom of the Hauts Crets after the cross-country phase of the full test for Tokyo Olympic.
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Sixth on the course of 20 fences from Derek Di Grazia to Sea Forest overlooking the heart of Tokyo Bay, the seven-time Olympian and the eight-year-old Selle Français mare crossed the finish line with seven seconds to lose to take the start driving on a score of 27.7 penalties. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) claims that the increasing heat and humidity provide a perfect environment for testing on-site cooling facilities for equine and human competitors.
“It’s a very nice position to be in and if I win I’m very happy for this year, but it’s next year I want to win,” Hoy said.
My horse was galloping very well and his heart rate and temperature were very good when I arrived. The scary accommodations here on the site were excellent. As an Olympic venue, it is ready a year ago because the terrain is excellent and the construction of the cross country fences is very good, but next year will be very different.
As the Australian jumpsuit was second after the dressage phase, only overnight leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA could challenge them. But the Japanese driver was 14 seconds from the clock to collect 5.6 time faults and move to fourth place with 30.1 penalties.
German superstar Michael Jung, another three-time Olympic gold medalist and heading to Tokyo 2020 as defending champion, straddled the seven-year-old Fischerwild. They also finished clear over the fences and the clock to move into second place with 28.0 penalties.
“It was hot but it wasn’t a big problem,” Jung said.
The grooms and everyone really took great care of the horses, and everyone tried to make the job for horses and riders as easy as possible. Another pair for the host country, Japan, Ryuzo Kitajima, and Vick Du Gisors, almost hit the optimal time of 5min 30sec to go from fourth after dressage to third, ahead of Oiwa and Bart L JRA, with 28.2 penalties.
The compatriot Kazuma Tomato is slightly behind in fifth place on Tacoma d’Horset with 30.4 penalties. Britons Georgie Spence and Halltown Harley complete the top six with 30.6 penalties and there is less than a barrier between them and the leaders. Seven of the 16 runners remain on their dressage marks, while eight others have just had time lapses.
The only combination to pick up jump penalties was long-distance scouts Kazuya Otomo and Condorcet, who had a run-out to the second element of the inclined rails doubled at fence 10 to fall from one place in the 16th. Tomorrow, the action returns to the new facilities at Baji Koen, site of the equestrian events of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, for the final jump phase.
“Altogether the horses healthier well after the cross country, despite the challenging conditions, and they are all now back home in their air-conditioned stalls at Baji Koen resting ready for tomorrow’s jumping,” Goran Akerström, the FEI’s veterinary director, said.
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