The British Equestrian Eventing squad have set a new record for a team score after dressage at a World Championships – 69.2 – and hold gold medal position going into cross-country at Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy

Laura Collett and her own, Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott’s London 52 were knocked off the top spot individually by Germany’s maestro Michael Jung, who scored 18.8 on fischerChipmunk FRH, but Laura’s mark of 19.3 leaves her in silver at this stage, while Yasmin Ingham’s 22 on Sue Davies and Janette Chin’s Banzai Du Loir means the British individual competitor is in bronze medal position.

Oliver Townend was one of the final riders to go in the afternoon sunshine, and a very correct, smooth test on Karyn Shuter, Val Ryan and Angela Hislop’s Ballaghmor Class gave him sixth place on a score of 24.3.

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (Image, British Equestrian/Jon Stroud Media)

Oliver said: “I was happy enough with him. He maybe didn’t take me quite forwards enough in trot, but I felt once I was into canter he was away, and I thought the work was very quality. 

“We’ve been trying to get him more forwards – he’s a horse who’s a little introverted; either that or completely explosive, so I’m just trying to get him to breathe and take me a bit more in all the paces, really, and it showed up in the canter. When it shows up in the trot obviously we can produce a better score, but for him to go in there and do a correct test is very good for him, and very good for the team. 

“I think it’s a bit of a dream start for the Brits, so let’s hope we can keep it up.

“I couldn’t be happier to be here in a fantastic venue, and it’s so good to have the British support and the UK Sport and Lottery funding behind us.”

Tom McEwen was the first Brit into the dressage arena today, and scored 25.6 aboard Toledo De Kerser, owned by Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Ali McEwen, only marred by a slight break into canter in the first trot extension. The individual silver and team gold medallists from the Tokyo Olympics are in equal seventh place.

Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser (Image, British Equestrian/Jon Stroud Media)

Tom said: “It wasn’t our best test, but he recovered really well [from that early mistake]. There were really nice flying changes, the canter work was lovely and I was really pleased with his walk. I just didn’t quite have him enough on the leg going in, probably, and it was a little bit of a recovery process from that first extension. But it was fine – he was brilliant, and I’m looking forward to the next phase.”

Ros Canter’s Thursday dressage mark of 26.2 on Michele Saul’s Lordships Graffalo means she is in equal 14th place.

Saturday’s cross-country starts at 10.30am Italian time. Ros will be the first to go for Team GB at 11.18am, followed by Yasmin at 11.25am, Laura at 12.42pm, Tom at 2.34pm and finally Oliver at 4.06pm.

Oliver said about Giuseppe della Chiesa’s cross-country track: “There’s plenty to do – the terrain’s very tough, the time will ride very tight because every time you’re going down a hill you need to set up for a combination and every time you’re going up a hill it’s blooming steep, and if not you’re on the camber, so it’s going to be a tough place to ride round.”

The funding that the British Equestrian World Class Programme receives from the National Lottery and UK Sport is pivotal in preparing our teams for senior championships and supporting them on the ground.

British Equestrian is also extremely grateful for the support we enjoy from our partners – Bates Saddles, Dodson & Horrell, Fairfax & Favor, Haygain, NAF and Toggi – and team suppliers – Equi-Trek, Horseware, Lotus Romeo, Marksway Horsehage and Point Two. We’re indebted for the year-round support they provide to the World Class Programme and British teams, which helps us to best prepare for senior championships.

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