Pau (FRA), 23 October 2009
WATCH LIVE ON FEI TV:
All users outside of France can see the final and deciding stage of the 2009 HSBC FEI ClassicsTM with the world's leading event horses and riders live on FEI TV (www.feitv.org).
FEI TV will broadcast live all the action from the Cross-Country and Jumping phases of the competition:
Cross-Country, Saturday 24 October: 13.15-17.00 CEST
Jumping, Sunday 25 October: 14.15-17.00 CEST
BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR TOWNEND AT HSBC FEI CLASSICSTM CLIMAX
Oliver Townend must be getting used to heading the leaderboard this season, and after a fluent display on Andrew Cawthray's eye-catching grey Carousel Quest on Dressage day at Les Etoiles de Pau, the climax of the 2009 Eventing season, it's business as usual for the 26-year-old star.
After a fluent display on Andrew Cawthray's eye-catching grey, Carousel Quest, the ever-focused Townend is in first place but, despite the luxury of his strong lead in the valuable HSBC FEI ClassicsTM, of which this is the finale, he isn't relaxing yet and declares himself fully intending to ride with his usual trademark competitive style over Pierre Michelet's (FRA) thought-provoking Cross-Country course tomorrow.
"I've got a long wait until my turn, so I'll see how the Cross-Country pans out, but I'm not here to have a holiday. I'm going to be competitive," he promised.
Carousel Quest, who is as elegant as the prancing fairground horses after which he is named, looks to have emerged fresh after his win in The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials just seven weeks ago, and Townend confirms: "He's on form and as fit as ever."
However, Townend has the always dangerous Andreas Dibowski (GER) breathing down his neck just 1.8 penalties behind in 2nd; the highly experienced German rider is out to avenge a disastrous HSBC FEI European Championship, in which he suffered an uncharacteristic fall on Euroridings Butts Leon, a handsome horse by the successful Thoroughbred stallion, Heraldik.
Susanna Bordone (ITA), a member of the silver medal team, also rides her Fontainebleau horse, Blue Moss, on which she was eliminated across country. Currently lying 3rd after Dressage, a phase at which she excels, plus 6th on Ava, she will be hoping for better luck at Les Etoiles de Pau.
Andrew Nicholson (NZL) has yet to feature on the HSBC FEI ClassicsTM leaderboard, but this could be his big chance to spring to prominence, as he is poised in 4th place on the beautiful grey youngster Avebury, winner of Saumur CCI*** in May, and 13th on the outstanding Cross-Country horse Armada.
Dirk Schrade (GER), who rides on a German army sporting sponsorship, also has a good chance to improve his status in the HSBC FEI ClassicsTM, in which he is lying 6th. He is 5th after Dressage on three-quarter Thoroughbred King Arthus, a ride he acquired last year from compatriot Peter Thomsen (GER).
36 horses started the Dressage
2 eliminated (Hollywood Inn, ridden by Pierre Franco de Casabianca, FRA; Destination Known, ridden by Alison Springer, USA)
Marks range from 42.5 to 81.8
Ground Jury is Christian Landolt (President, SUI), Michel Asseray (FRA), Marilyn Payne (USA)
8 nations are represented: Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, USA
Technical delegate is Tom Ryckewaert (BEL)
Cross-Country has 31 fences, is 6,200m long with an optimum time of 10min 52sec
Pierre Michelet, the master of building a huge variety of Cross-Country tests, has reversed the direction of his track and, riders say it appears a little easier and more flowing than last year. But they are all scratching their heads over number 20/21/22, the second water complex, which is fronted by a narrow house.
Townend commented: "I like the course, and the fences I don't like I've got another 24 hours to get used to! I think it's perhaps a little more straightforward than last year. But, having said that, it's all on related distances and there are many places where you could find yourself running out."
Oliver Townend: "Carousel Quest can be a bit peculiar about big screens, and that was my main worry today. His previous rider, Cressida Clague-Reading, used to have a big screen in her indoor school to get him used to it because he tends to start watching himself and panicking, and that's why our rein-back wasn't so good today. But he is an easy horse to ride if you can get his brain right."
Lucy Wiegersma, 6th on Blenheim CCI*** winner Granntevka Prince: "He is only a 9-year-old and can be a little tense, but I'm very pleased with him because it's his first attempt at the 4* Dressage test. I think the Cross-Country will suit him because he's nippy and quick and straight."
William Fox-Pitt (GBR), 8th on Macchiato: "That's the best he's been in the Dressage, he really managed to contain himself. I'm going to give it a good crack tomorrow; he's usually good at skinny fences."
1 Oliver Townend/Carousel Quest (GBR) 42.5
2 Andreas Dibowski/Euroridings Butts Leon (GER) 43.8
3 Susanna Bordone/Blue Moss (ITA) 45.8
4 Andrew Nicholson/Avebury (NZL) 46.2
5 Dirk Schrade/King Arthus (GER) 46.7
6 = Lucy Wiegersma/Granntevka Prince (GBR) 47.5
6 = Susanna Bordone/Ava (ITA) 47.5
8 William Fox-Pitt/Macciato (GBR) 47.7
9 Jan Byyny/Waterfront (USA) 48.5
10 Pascal Leroy/Minos de Petra (FRA) 49.7
Follow results on www.event-pau.fr
2009 HSBC FEI CLASSICSTM Standings (after 4 of 5 events):
1 Oliver Townend (GBR) 33 points
2 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 21
3 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 20
3 Lucinda Fredericks (AUS) 15
4 Michael Jung (GER) 15
5 Bettina Hoy (GER) 12
6 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12
7 Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 11
8 Bruce Davidson Jnr (USA) 10
9 Dirk Schrade (GER) 10
10 Polly Stockton (GBR) 10
HSBC FEI CLASSICSTM CALENDAR OF EVENTS 2009
1. 22-26 April Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA)
2. 7-10 May Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)
3. 11-14 June Luhmühlen CCI**** presented by E.ON Avacon Vertrieb (GER)
4. 3-6 September The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)
5. 21-25 October Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA)
Notes to editors:
The HSBC FEI ClassicsTM , established last year, unites the top end of the international Eventing circuit, namely the five 4-Star Eventing competitions currently on the calendar. The Top Ten placed riders at each event receive points; the five riders with the highest number of points at the end of the season are awarded prize money.
Points will be awarded to the Top Ten riders at each event as follows:
Riders can only win points with their best horse/performance at one event and if the combination has obtained a qualifying result. In case of equality of points, the best placed rider is the competitor with the lowest total of penalty points at the specific event (=differentiating score).
1st: 15 points
2nd: 12 points
3rd: 10 points
4th: 8 points
5th: 6 points
6th: 5 points
7th: 4 points
8th: 3 points
9th: 2 points
10th: 1 point
1. William Fox-Pitt (GBR)
2. Nicolas Touzaint (FRA)
3. Frank Ostholt (GER)
4. Phillip Dutton (USA
5. Bettina Hoy (GER)