Aussie eventers look to Rio

1 August 2012

EQUESTRIAN: It was not the result the Aussie eventers were looking for after the loss of two horses on the cross country course yesterday saw the team finish today’s showjumping round in sixth.

Despite impressive jumping efforts by three remaining competitors in Lucinda Fredericks, Andrew Hoy and Chris Burton, the loss or two members and penalties on course yesterday saw the team finish sixth overall.

Impressive performances by the Germans have seen them lead the competition from start to finish, with the crowd erupting when Great Britain finished in second place. New Zealand rounded out the minor placings.

It was Lucinda who got the Aussies off to a flying start aboard Flying Finish with a clear round and only one time fault.

Both Andrew and Chris put in strong performance to qualify into the top 25 individual medal jump off.  Andrew and Rutherglen jumped a perfect clear round to excite the crowd with Chris putting in a strong performance at his first Olympics, the duo finishing 13th and 16th respectively.

For seven time Olympian Andrew Hoy, he feels he is learning more every day and has not ruled out an eighth Games.

“Time will tell but I do enjoy riding horses, I do enjoy being at the pointy end of the sport and every day I’m just driven.

“Rutherglen is just at the start of his international career. I’ve worked with him for five years and it was just great for him to jump a clear round,” said Hoy.

All riders now have their sites on preparing horses for Rio, with both Lucinda and Andrew confident the horses they rode from the London Games are young enough and strong enough to be ready for Rio 2016.  For Chris, he feels his horse Leilani is almost at the end of her international career and will look to bring one of his younger horses through the ranks.

He had mixed emotions for his first Olympic Games, after a pleasing personal performance but naturally disappointed for his team.

“I am really happy with my personal performance.  We are a very strong nation in eventing and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves – as a team we had some bad luck at these Games but that’s the nature of sport.

“We are a strong nation to be able to call on people like Megan Jones, Beijing Olympian, and Sam Griffiths, who have such strong horses – it really does show the depth we have,” said Burton.

In the stands cheering on the Aussies today were teammates Sam Griffiths and Clayton Fredericks who were both eliminated after yesterday’s fall from their horses. Both men despite feeling the devastation of not claiming a medal, have vowed they’ll be ready for 2016.

For equestrian fans the focus will turn to Greenwich Park on 2 August with the start of the Dressage competition featuring four time Olympian Mary Hanna, Australia’s most successful Dressage rider Kristy Oatley and her best friend and cousin Lyndal Oatley.

Lauren Ryan in London

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