Equestrianism: Fox-Pitt resists the German threat

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The Independent Online

Two German riders, Franck Ostholt and Dirk Schrade, hold the top places at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships at Fontainebleau in France, with Britain's William Fox-Pitt a close third on Idalgo after the first day of dressage.

Fox-Pitt is part of the British quartet aiming to win the team title for an eighth consecutive time. The Germans are intent on adding the European crown to their Olympic and world victories, and while Schrade is riding as an individual, Ostholt and Michael Jung (in joint fourth) are part of the team. Fox-Pitt was nevertheless delighted with Idalgo, who does not find dressage easy. "I had never expected to be so close to Franck Ostholt at this stage," he said.

A British individual rider, Lucy Wiegersma on Woodfalls Inigo Jones, is lying equal fourth with Jung. Britain's Nicola Wilson on Opposition Buzz is in 20th place. The other two team members – the Olympic bronze medallist Tina Cook on Miners Frolic and Oliver Townend on Flint Curtis – will ride their dressage tests today.

HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships (Fontainebleau, France) Placings after first day of dressage: 1 Air Jordan (F Ostholt, Ger) 39.2 penalties; 2 Gadget de la Cere (D Schrade, Ger) 39.6; 3 Idalgo (W Fox-Pitt, GB) 41.5; 4= La Biosthetique (M Jung, Ger) and Woodfalls Inigo Jones (L Wiegersma, GB) 45.0; 6 Coronado Prior (E Vigeanel, Fr) 46.7.