It was the final day of competition for GBR’s carriage drivers today, as they took to the La Prairie Racecourse arena in Caen for the last time as the cones stage of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games got underway.
First in to navigate the twenty-obstacle course for GBR was Dick Lane. With his team of Lipizzaners he produced a superb test to leave the course of obstacles untouched, accruing only 3.06 time penalties in the phase, for a total score (after all three phases) of 183.24 penalties and 32nd place.
Very pleased, he commented after his drive; “Well that was fun. It drove really well; it was a really nice flowing course. The artificial surface was really slippery and the carriage was moving round all the time, so you have to compensate a little bit for that. The time was tight, on that surface it’s difficult to go very fast because you’re worried that the carriage will slide out. Overall I’ve had a fantastic experience here.”
Next to go was Georgina Hunt and her striking team. After a good marathon the day before, Georgina was unfortunate to have two obstacles down in today’s phase to leave her in 24th place with a total penalty score of 168.81.
“I was very disappointed,” Georgina commented, “two down just wasn’t good enough. Number two [the second cone obstacle] I didn’t realise it was down but saw it as I came past. I knew I was tight on time, so I tried to come in tight for 19, and had that one down as well. I should have stuck to my line and not worried about the time and at least not had 19 down, so wrong decision. It’s a horrid way to end”.
Last in was Wilf Bowman-Ripley, who went all out over the testing track to record a fantastic clear round inside the time. Adding nothing to his score after today’s phase, he finishes on a total of 154.51 penalties and 15th place in the competition.
Commenting afterwards he said; “I was feeling confident and had nothing to lose so I just pushed on and went for it. It’s been hard work from start to finish. I think I’ve put in the best performance I could do with the situation I’ve had, so I’m really pleased and the competition’s been fantastic and a lot of sportsmanship in the driving which has been good.”
Chef d’Equipe for the British team Zoe Morgan spoke afterwards, “The team have worked and trained extremely hard. A few things have gone wrong; we were hoping for a little bit higher [up the leader board] in the team ranking, but with the horses they’ve got, the work they’ve put in, they couldn’t have done much more. I’m very proud of them all - they’ve worked their hearts out.”
Individual gold went to Australia’s Boyd Exell, with America’s Chester Weber taking the silver and The Netherland’s Theo Timmerman the bronze.
In the team competition, GBR finished in eighth place overall; The Netherlands took the gold, Germany the silver and Hungary team bronze.