High-level competition and lots of twists and turns at the Domaine de Sers this morning! Following the dressage test of the CCI****, Australian rider Shane Rose heads the provisional leaderboard with flying colors, whereas the German combination Michael Jung/Sam unfortunately had to withdraw.
“Je suis très content” (I am very happy) were the first words spoken by current leader Shane Rose, in an endearing French accent at the press conference of this 27th edition of the CCI 4* event. “I think I lost a few points: he was warming up very well but may have lasted 10 minutes too much and in the ring he wasn’t quite as good so I was a little disappointed with myself but I’m happy also that it wasn’t his best day but he still did some very nice work.”
British rider Rosalind Canter, who was leading after yesterday’s first group, “was over the moon” when she totalled 39.7 points today, ranking her second on the temporary leaderboard. “Zenshera has been capable of doing this test back home for the past four years, but so far this is the first time we’ve been able to pull it off in in an international arena. I couldn’t be happier with him, and I even think he really enjoyed himself yesterday.”
Two big names, Mark Todd (NZL) and French winner of the 2016 edition, Maxime Livio, tie for 3rd place with 40.2 points. Both imitating Shane Rose’s French accent before the press, said that they were “très content”, including the French rider himself, who had the journalists chuckling.
The New Zealander ranks 3rd and 5th, respectively, with his horses NZB Campino and Kiltubird Rhapsody: “Campino has been here before and already done many four-stars, and he probably did as good a test as he can do. As for Kitubird, he’s ten years old and it’s his first four-star event and I was very pleased with how he went.”
Maxime Livio tied 3rd, and is pleased with Opium de Verrières who “was very nice, very quiet, like he is all the time. The only thing I can really improve is the walk, but this is the same problem I’ve had with that horse for many years. I haven’t found a solution yet. The horse is in good shape and ready for the fight tomorrow.” »
Much-awaited by the public in Pau, Michael Jung unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition before his turn on the honour ground: “I don’t know exactly what happened, sometimes you have no answer for that, I don’t have one at the moment, I was riding him in the morning and I had a really good feeling. I was really looking forward to the test, then may horse was in the stable for two hours, not alone, my groom was with him so I cannot say he was rolling, or hitting the wall. Then I got to the stable, taking him out of the box immediately saw that something was wrong with him. It was really cold in the morning, I thought he was just stiff. Then, walking him for a few minutes I felt he was not well, I started trotting a little bit and could see he was a little lame, and I was sure straightaway that I wouldn’t try competing with him.
Once again, the world’s best rider will not take the trophy home this year. His withdrawal gives the world’s 3rd best rider, Maxime Livio, a little more leg room; Livio commented “I think there’s still a lot of competition out there, there are lots of great riders; I like competition, it raises the bar, makes us strive to improve. I’m quite sad for Michy, it’s happened to me before and such things are really hard to take, but we have to think of the horses’ health above all.”
So, the long-awaited duel between Livio and Jung is not to be, but the weekend nonetheless promises to be fill of action, suspense and great horsemanship at the cross-country competition starting at 12:45 pm.