TOUZAINT'S TITLE DEFENCE STARTS HERE
The countdown has begun to Nicolas Touzaint's (FRA) defence of his European title. The defending champion rides Tatchou, an 11-year-old Anglo-Arab, for the home team in the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships at Fontainebleau (FRA, 23 - 27 September), which kick off with the Dressage phase at 9am on Thursday 24 September morning.
"Of course I would like to win the individual gold medal again, but I would also like us to win the gold medal in the team event," said Touzaint.
"For a few years now we have always been second [6 times since 1993] and the British team has won. I think the French team really deserves to win this year and I really hope that we do so."
Riders from 18 nations, 8 of which will form teams, trotted up horses in the first inspection today. There were anxious moments for Swedish veteran Anna Hilton with L'Ester de la Pree, Irish rookie Sam Watson with Horseware Bushman and Poland's Lukasz Kazmierczak with Ostler when their horses were sent to the holding box, but all passed.
The following nations are represented at the FEI HSBC European Eventing Championships (* denotes a team):
Austria, Belgium*, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France* (as host nation, they are allowed 12 riders), Germany*, Great Britain*, Ireland*, Italy*, Lithuania, Netherlands*, Poland, Portugal, Russia and Sweden*.
With a great weather forecast, the fierce battle to unseat 20-time team gold medallists Great Britain and the prospect of Pierre Michelet's (FRA) revamped Cross-Country course, this promises to be a vintage Championship.
Oliver Townend (GBR), who will be Great Britain's anchorman on his Badminton winner Flint Curtis, commented: "It's a very challenging course, as you would expect for a European Championship."
Michael and Patricia Ryan (IRL) are the only married couple competing, although Carl Bouckaert and long-time partner Karin Donckers are on the Belgian squad;
Stand By Me, ridden by Linda Algotsson (SWE), is the oldest horse, at 19; his team career started 10 years ago and he won individual silver medals in 1999 and 2003. Eric Vigeanel's (FRA) horse, Coronado Prior, is also 19;
Bridget, ridden by Jan Van Beek (NED), is the youngest horse, at 8
Sam Watson's (IRL) father, John, was a member of the winning Irish team in 1979
Ingrid Klimke's (GER) father, Reiner, won team silver in 1957
Nicolas Touzaint's uncle, Thierry, the French team trainer, won team bronze in 1979
Two members of the Italian team competed in the 2009 Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships recently, Susanna Bordone (Dressage) and Juan Carlos Garcia, who won a team silver medal in the Jumping
FOLLOW THE EVENT
Full results and start sheets on www.fontainebleau2009.com
Photographs: High resolution photographs will be available from the online FEI Photo Catalogue. Please note that these photographs are for editorial use only.
WATCH THE EVENT ON FEI TV
Extensive and high-quality live and on-demand coverage of the event will be offered on www.feitv.org
Confirmed (live) broadcasting times on www.feitv.org are:
Friday, September 25 (tbc): 19:00-20:00 CEST (highlights package)
Saturday, September 26: 11:00-17:00 CEST (Cross-Country)
Sunday, September 27: 10:00 - 12:00 CEST (Jumping Part l)
Sunday, September 27: 14:00 - 16:30 CEST (Jumping Part ll)
HSBC, ‘the world's local bank', is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC Holdings plc is the exclusive financial services partner to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and in 2008 became a ‘Platinum Sponsor' - the FEI's highest sponsorship platform.
HSBC's equestrian sponsorship portfolio includes:
The HSBC FEI ClassicsTM
The HSBC FEI World CupTM Eventing
The HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship 2009
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