London 2012: Day 6 Review: Mixed day for favouritesAug 3rd, 2012 | By ca | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS
03 Aug 2012
Carl Hester gave Great Britain a strong start today in their quest for a first Olympic Dressage medal, but the Host Nation did not have things all their own way in the afternoon, while it was a tough day for Anky Van Grunsven.
The 45-year-old Hester, who is riding in his fourth Olympics, scored 77.72 per cent on Uthopia, the highest score of the opening day at Greenwich Park.
‘I am very happy – it felt like a very good performance,’ Hester said.
‘I know it’s not the highest mark I’ve had, but I have to take into account it is the Olympics, it is the toughest judges, it is the toughest standard and I am in the first group of competitors.
‘I had one obvious mistake, which took me down to under 78 per cent, which would have been my ideal score, but 77 per cent is still great. The horse felt good.’
Britain are the reigning European team champions, and their trio of Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin have been tipped for Olympic gold.
Bechtolsheimer was the second British rider in action, while Dujardin’s Grand Prix test is tomorrow afternoon.
The world number two Bechtolsheimer posted 76.83 per cent aboard Mistral Hojris, a mark that was only bettered by Hester. However, she later admitted she was disappointed with her return.
‘It is a pretty low score as far as Alf (Mistral Hojris) goes, and not a score we needed to give us a good start in the team standings,’ she said. ‘I am gutted.’
Team scores from the Grand Prix are combined with those in next Tuesday’s Grand Prix Special to decide the Dressage Team medallists, with Britain expected to face stiff competition from Germany and Netherlands.
Dutch star Anky van Grunsven, who has won the last three Olympic Individual Dressage gold medals, endured a testing day.
She scored 73.34 per cent on Salinero, but then revealed that her husband Sjef, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour last November, had been taken ill just hours before her test.
‘Today was difficult for me because my husband got sick,’ she said. ‘It is the first time in the last six Olympics that he could not be here.
‘We called the doctor, who came, so I was able to leave him with good care, but it was very stressful this morning. It was not the easiest of circumstances.
‘He is okay. It is flu, but he had an operation for a brain tumour and with his medical history it is important that someone is there with him, but everything is under control now.’
The day’s hard luck story belonged to Canadian David Marcus.
Already having had to cope with riding in a torrential downpour, his horse Capital then spooked wildly and it resulted in them being eliminated.
Marcus said: ‘Things were going fine until he spotted a TV camera in the corner, and the crowd were moving around in their seats due to the rain, and it all went wrong. He doesn’t normally do anything like that. It was totally out of character and I am desperately disappointed.’
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