EQUESTRIANISM; Funnell's Supreme debut puts Britain in the clear
The British team also holds the advantage among the 14 nations in contention. Their three best scores total 242 penalties, leaving them ahead of Sweden (260), Germany (262) and France (264) as they go into today's crucial cross-country phase in the knowledge that Olympic qualification is at stake.
Funnell did not allow that responsibility to stop her from riding positively. Supreme Rock's ability to produce an excellent dressage test had been proved this year at Badminton, where he was second after this initial phase.
"Pippa rode exactly as planned," a delighted Christopher Bartle, the British dressage trainer and team manager, said.
Ian Stark, riding this year's Badminton winner Jaybee, is second best of the British team riders in 13th place on a score of 86 penalties. This leaves the Scot just ahead of the two who rode their dressage tests on Thursday - Jeanette Brakewell on Over to You (87) and Kristina Gifford on The Gangster II (89).
Stark said that Jaybee's test was "in many ways better than Badminton, though he mucked up both flying changes here."
Rodolphe Scherer, a 27-year-old Frenchman who has been based in England since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, is lying in third place on Bambi de Briere as 77 riders prepare to tackle today's cross-country.
According to Bartle, the British riders will be "absolutely focused" when they set out on the 28-fence cross-country course. "When you've finished your dressage, you have to put it behind you and keep thinking forward," Bartle said.
"If our riders do everything they've planned to do on the cross-country, I'll be delighted."
Funnell is in tune with the team manager's views. "Now we have to think about starting another competition, we're going to crack on and go for it," she said after her dressage test.
Brakewell and Stark, the first two to go for the team, are likely to stick with their pre- arranged plans when they ride the course. Funnell, however, is aware of the need to be flexible and wait for instructions which will depend on how the first two have fared.
EUROPEAN THREE-DAY EVENT CHAMPIONSHIPS (Luhmuhlen, Ger): After dressage phase: 1 Supreme Rock (P Funnell, GB) 69 penalties; 2 Flintstone IV (R Powell, GB) 72; 3 Bambi de Briere (R Scherer, Fr) 75; 4 Sleep Late (I Klimke, Ger) 77; 5 Stand by Me ((L Algotsson, Swe) 80; 6 Debat d'Estruva (D Courreges, Fr) 81. GB: 13 Jaybee (I Stark) 86; 14 Over to You (J Brakewell) 87; 19 The Gangster II (K Gifford) 89; 51 Cornish Envoy (K Parker) 106. Teams (total scores of best three team riders): 1 Great Britain 242 penalties; 2 Sweden 260; 3 Germany 262; 4 France 264; 5 Belgium 283; 6= Italy and Poland 295.
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