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Unhappy X-country course for Australia

31 July 2012

EQUESTRIAN:Greenwich Park’s cross country course proved difficult and costly for Australia’s eventing team, after both Clayton Fredericks and Sam Griffiths were eliminated on day two after falling from their horse.

The Aussies headed into today’s competition ranked second behind Germany, but after two eliminations and a costly penalty for Lucinda Fredericks at the water jump, the Aussies were relinquished to sixth place.

The day started out with an impressive ride by Olympic debutant Chris Burton who went clear over all jumps and galloped home under time to give the team an inspiring start. 

But it wasn’t the finish they had hoped for with Burton admitting the team is not feeling the best.

“Of course we are a little bit down in the dumps. We are a very strong nation in eventing and we were confident of doing well but the dynamics of jumping horses over fences around slippery grass at those speeds, unforseen things happen.

“For me I couldn’t have asked for a better run. She (HP Leilani) was fantastic she is an experienced mare and I love her to bits,” he said.

Equestrian Section Manager Brett Mace said he was proud of the team and all things considering, they rode very well.

“They still did a great job, the two that fell were riding very well, they didn’t make a mistake at the fences, it was clearly a case of the horses slipping. There was not much the riders can do about that – these things happen.

There was some impressive riding from the Aussie outfit and for second rider on course Sam Griffiths it was the last two minutes that saw Happy Times fall just short to crossing the line.

“He (Happy Times) is a real galloper so this was where he was going to star but I had no luck today but that is the sport.

“I was actually feeling pretty confident I had done what I considered to be the hardest part of the course I was pretty confident that I was going to make the time but it was just one of those things,” said Griffiths.

The Aussies were well prepared for the tough terrain that they faced, with veteran Andrew Hoy admitting they knew the slippery ground would play a part.

“I learnt from watching the first few horses going that it was very slippery, I was very cautious, I rode today with studs bigger than I have ever ridden with before,” he said.

For the three remaining riders they have one final phase in the showjumping and will need to go clear and under time to pull the Aussies up the ladder. 

The final day of competition begins at 10.30am on Day 4.

Lauren Ryan

Olympics.com.au

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