Home-town rider Marcelo Tosi performed the winning test in the Aquece Rio International Horse Trials after a supremely confident dressage performance with the 11-year-old Briefing DB Z atthe Olympic Equestrian Centre on Friday.
Tosi, who celebrates his 46th birthday next Friday, performed to a soundtrack of Mozart clarinet concerto to score 37.60 and secure a 6.9 penalty lead over compatriot Marcio Jorge with the impressive grey Coronel MCJ, but Tosi has decided not to ride Briefing in the cross-country. He has a second chance of success, though, as he is also in third with Glenfly on 47.2, while Jorge, who was a member of the silver medal team at last month’s Pan American Games in Toronto, is fourth with Winner on a mark of 48.8.
Tosi, who competes in all three Olympic disciplines – eventing, jumping and dressage – was based in Great Britain for four years, but moved back to Brazil last October in preparation for next year’s home Games.
The equestrian events are taking place at the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Rio 2016 Games cluster. Deodoro’s nine venues will host the Olympic sports of basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens, shooting and the Paralympic sports of wheelchair fencing, Football 7-a-side and shooting alongside Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, and Para-Equestrian Dressage.
Like the rest of the Brazilian team, Tosi is trained by Anna Ross for dressage and double Olympic gold medallist Mark Todd for cross-country and Jumping. Briefing, who finished 10th in the test event for last year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is a world-class horse, according to Todd, and Tosi hopes he’ll be his ride at next year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “The Olympics will be great, having them in your own country, it keeps us motivated.”
Tosi enjoys a friendly rivalry with team mate Marcio Jorge: “We’re friends in and out of the arena. We always try to beat each other, it’s the best way to improve. There aren’t lots of riders at the same level to compete with here like in Europe, so it’s great to have him to compete with.”
Marcio Jorge will be first out on the cross-country with Winner, the first of his two rides. Pierre Michelet’s track covers much of the same ground as that being prepared for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but at 3.1km is substantially less than the distance horses and riders will tackle next year.
Brazil, as host nation, earns automatic team qualification for Rio 2016. The following nations have so far qualified team spots for Rio 2016:
Jumping: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, Qatar
Dressage: Australia, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, USA
Eventing: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, USA
The remaining equestrian team places at Rio 2016 will be decided at continental qualifiers, while individual places will be decided according to world rankings. All athletes competing at the Games must obtain the minimum eligibility requirements.
Aquece Rio International Horse Trials (Olympic Test Event) – results after dressage
1, Briefing DB Z (Marcelo Tosi), BRA, 37.6 penalties;
2, Coronel MCJ (Marcio Jorge), BRA, 44.5;
3, Glenfly (Marcelo Tosi), BRA, 47.2;
4, Winner (Marcio Jorge), BRA, 48.8;
equal 5, CDC Super Star (Andre Paro), BRA and Cross Rock (Marcio Appel), 52.5.