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Shock withdrawal of European champion

August 10, 2008

There was deep disappointment for the hard-hit French team in Hong Kong yesterday when Nicolas Touzaint's Galan de Sauvagere was withdrawn from the three-day-event just before he was to perform his dressage test.

The injury to Galan de Sauvagere follows the withdrawal of Jean Teulere's Espoir de la Mare due to injury on Thursday.

Touzaint and Galan de Sauvagere's non-participation only became public moments before they were expected to appear in the arena and, during an emotional press conference during which Touzaint looked devastated but remained composed, it was revealed that the horse with which he took individual gold and team silver at last summer's European Championships had become mysteriously unsound.

Thierry Touzaint, uncle of Nicolas and also French team trainer, explained that the 14-year-old gelding had taken fright while standing in his stable during the thunderstorm that rolled over Hong Kong early yesterday morning. "He fell over but got up again and we didn't think there was much wrong with him but later in the day he began to go lame and today it was much worse" Thierry explained.

Yesterday Nicolas rode him and was concerned about his condition but, in the hope that he would improve and without any clear understanding of what was wrong with him even after veterinary inspection, he persisted again today but had to admit defeat. "He just wasn't right - we think perhaps he has injured his stifle or it could be a tendon but as yet we are not certain" Thierry explained.

This was devastating news for the defending Olympic champions but Didier Dhennin and Ismene du Temple registered a good score of 42.80 yesterday and currently lies tenth while, although reduced to just a three-man side, Eric Vigeanel (Coronado Prior) and Jean Renaud Adde (Haston D'Elpegere) could keep them in the game if they can produce something special.


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