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Hopes fade for Kiwi showjumpers

October 6, 2010

New Zealand is now pinning its hopes on qualifying an individual showjumper for the Olympics in 2012 after suffering mixed fortunes in the second jumping day at the World Equestrian Games.

Guy Thomas and Peterbilt.

Samantha McIntosh and Loxley 38.

It was a disappointed Katie McVean who rode her mare Delphi out of the arena with 14 faults to their name. They were fine until the treble, when they paid the price for jumping too big into the first of the three. That was followed by another rail and then the first of the double.

"She's just green and a bit keen sometimes," said McVean.

They flew the 4.3m spread of the water - a jump that cost many a rider faults today.

Belgium based Samantha McIntosh, who is on debut for New Zealand having previously ridden for Bulgaria at Olympic, World Games and European Champs, picked up 17 faults on Loxley 38 over a huge course.

"He did his best out there," she said. "It would have been nice not to have any faults but that's the sport. Tomorrow is a whole new day."

Maurice Beatson was much happier with Apollo van Evendael today. Apollo struggled a bit yesterday after a fall a couple of days ago, but is on the mend now. "It's a tough track out there but he did well," said Beatson, who picked up 22 faults for his efforts. They were going well until the water jump, where Apollo slipped a foot in, then it was a big challenge going down the final line.

"That line was hard going. He wants to jump well, but he is relatively inexperienced at this top level, so it's hard for him. He needs to be at 100% to be able to achieve that."

The games are over for Guy Thomas and Peterbilt. It's been a big ask for the showy stallion as he'd been out with injury a few weeks without a show before the games starting. Today he hardly seemed to see the first fence at all, and that was followed by four more rails around the course.

Thomas could feel his horse simply wasn't right, so retired. "That's showjumping," he says. "Some days are diamonds, others are dust."

Peterbilt was cleared by the vet to compete, but the rails down were just not the star of the past season. "He's been brilliant all year, so this was not like him at all," Thomas said.

Chef d'equipe Richard Sunderland was disappointed with the result, saying the team just didn't have the luck on the day.

"We've got what I think are some of the best horses we have ever had and yet it just didn't happen for us."

The team is sitting in 21st spot out of 27.

It was a far bigger course for the 119 strong field today, with spreads as wide as 4.3m, to uprights that topped 1.6m. The fences were all named for Kentucky icons, such as famous racehorse Seabiscuit, top thoroughbred breeding and training operation Calumet Farm, and the historic racing track Keeneland.

The beauty of the course was not lost on the thousands who packed the stands for a glimpse at the world's best showjumping combinations.

The competition continues tomorrow, and the games will close on Sunday.



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