The New Zealanders are on track for the final phase, sitting in second position in the Nations Cup at Aachen, just behind the Australians.
The Aussies are on 139.80, with New Zealand on 142.2. In third place is Great Britain on 142.5, also giving us no room for error!
Jonelle Price had the opportunity to take the lead but, very uncharacteristically, she had two rails on Faerie Dianimo, the last of the treble and a brick out of the wall. The horse hasn’t had a rail in competition since 2014, so it really was a surprise result.
Jonelle was sitting in seventh place, but has just been elevated to fifth as both Julia Krajewski and Sandra Auffarth have withdrawn before tackling the cross-country course. Julia had been leading and Sandra was in third spot.
This means that Michael Jung on FischerTakinou is now in the lead, with Bettina Hoy, the leader after dressage, second on Signeur Medicott (after taking two show jumping rails), Australian Shane Rose third after a clear jumping performance and Ingrid Klimke fourth on Escada, also clear.
Jock Paget is the next best Kiwi, now in 10th place. He and his team mates, Blyth Tait and Tim Price, also jumped clear rounds, all looking very polished.
Jock and Clifton Signature had a dressage score of 47.8, leaving them in 22nd place after the first phase, but the jumping was very influential and has rocketed them up the leaderboard to their current 10th spot.
Blyth on Xanthus III scored 51.1 in the dressage, to be in 30th place, and is now 21st after yet another clear round.
Bango and Tim Price had a 53 dressage score, which put them in 32nd after the first phase, and again, a lovely clear round elevated them to 24th.
While she would have been disappointed to have two rails jumping, Jonelle was very happy with her dressage score. “When you get it right with her, it’s really special. Here we had a plan and executed it well. She is so talented and has something not every eventing horse can do . . . but it is about getting it all right on the day and then she’s a real contender.”
Jock Paget was also very happy with Clifton Signature. “His energy was good and he just felt much more matured. It was a shame there were a few little things like square halts which would have cost us. It is just a matter of getting all the details right with the quality.”
Blyth Tait, ever philosophical, agreed after the dressage that this isn’t Eric’s favourite phase. “However, he is quite capable. I have been struggling a bit with him this year . . . he worked well in the practice arena, and maybe I worked him in a bit long. I am not displeased though, this is a very hot class with the best in the world and he certainly hasn’t disgraced himself.”
The all-important cross-country is on tomorrow (tonight NZT). Aachen time is notoriously tough to get, and the course is a good challenge. There is live streaming available and the competition is set to start at 8pm NZT. Blyth is the first Kiwi out at 8.44pm NZT. The full start list is is here