Racing: New Zealand put in the clear by Todd
Sunday 04 October 1998
Mark Todd, twice Olympic champion, and chasing the only important prize to have eluded him, put up yet another outstanding performance to leave both himself and his country in pole position for today's final showjumping phase. They added nothing to their excellent dressage score for a total of 34.00 penalties. First, his horse, Broadcast News, must pass the morning's veterinary inspection, but there should be no worries after this smoothest of rides in a long, rain-soddened speed and endurance test.
Todd was ably supported, as expected, by the reigning Olympic champion Blyth Tait riding Ready Teddy, currently in fourth place individually, and by the defending World Champion Vaughn Jefferis riding the veteran Bounce. Tait's was a copybook round, easily competed within the minimum 13 minutes allowed. Jefferis was also clean, leaving New Zealand an impressive 31.4 penalties ahead of Australia, the reigning Olympic champions. Stuart Tinney blazed a trail for them with a dashing round on Jeepster, and the pair stand in third position individually.
The British team riders made a valiant effort to peg back a hefty dressage deficit which left them only eighth of 17 teams, 52.8 penalties behind. They now stand fifth with France third and the US fourth.
Gary Parsonage with Magic Rouge, Polly Phillipps and Coral Cove, and Nigel Taylor partnering The Frenchman II all rode clear rounds inside the time and British hopes were then concentrated on Karen Dixon with Too Smart. They set off late, after yet more rain. The horse jumped well most of the way, but was tiring quickly before falling just three obstacles from home, when they retired.
Phillipps was delighted with Coral Cove, whose only bad moment came at the first water when he banked both elements after jumping in. "I don't know how he stood up. It was horrendous," she said. "Otherwise he didn't put a foot wrong. He goes forever, a class horse and clever as a cat."
The New Zealanders rode as a team, avoiding the higher risk options yet wasting no time elsewhere. When Todd took the much slower alternative at fence four and jumped the big combinations at 23 in two parts, yet finished easily within the time, the task looked fairly easy and it was disheartening to those who hoped to make up ground on the leader. Bettina Overesch, the dressage leader, also had the German team and Olympic qualification in mind when setting off on Watermill Stream as the only ones who could finish ahead of Todd.
Germany had already lost a team member, Marina Loheit, but Overesch was faultless. The ground was deep by now, though, and their 5.60 time faults left them 5.20 penalties adrift. This allows Todd one showjumping mistake, giving him "my best chance in 20 years of being world champion".
Latest in Sport
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
Dustin Brown: Who is the world number 102 who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon?
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...