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World Eventing Championships riders: who’s on medal-winning kind

  • IT’S rare that a nation fields a championship squad in which every member has a real chance of an individual medal, but that’s the case with the Britain’s World Eventing Championships riders. They start as favourites for the team gold, with high hopes of retaining Britain’s championship triple crown at Olympic, world and European level.

    The individuals from the squad of five will be named once the riders and horses are out in Pratoni del Vivaro, but it’s likely to be Kentucky runners-up and championship debutants Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir, simply because of their inexperience.

    Ros Canter, Laura Collett, Tom McEwen and Oliver Townend all have at least two previous championships on their CVs, with Oliver – who rides the incredibly consistent Ballaghmor Class – gaining his 10th senior squad cap this time.

    Olympic individual silver medallists Tom and Toledo De Kerser are the only pair coming forward from Britain’s 2018 World Championship gold medal-winning team. Ros defends her title after winning four years ago on Allstar B, but will not be under pressure individually with the relatively inexperienced Lordships Graffalo.

    The individual gold expectation will sit instead with Badminton Horse Trials victors Laura and London 52, who start as joint-favourite with Germany’s Kentucky winners Michael Jung and FischerChipmunk FRH. Battle lines will be drawn in the first phase, where both will aim to score around the 20 mark.

    Michael spearheads a formidable German squad who must represent Britain’s strongest competition. He lines up with Olympic individual champions Julia Krajewski and Amande De B’Neville, 2014 world champion Sandra Auffarth (Viamant Du Matz) and Christoph Wahler (Carjatan S), who makes his team debut.

    Australia and the USA are next in line for podium spots. The core of Australia’s team is the silver medal-winning trio from Tokyo – double clear machines Andrew Hoy and Vassily De Lassos, Kevin McNab on Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam and Shane Rose with Virgil. They may not be prominent after dressage but can rise.

    The USA hasn’t won a major championship team medal since 2004, but does have a real chance this time. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum could compete with the best in the first phase, offering an early confidence boost.

    Sixteen teams contest the Italian showdown and another six could realistically challenge for a medal.

    It’s 10 years since New Zealand won a world or Olympic honour and the Prices – Tim on last year’s Pau winner Falco, Jonelle on McClaren – are keen to set that right. Clarke Johnstone, a veteran of the 2010 world bronze medal-winning team, has a relatively new ride in Menlo Park, while the other two jockeys make their squad debuts.

    Ireland won double silver at the 2018 worlds; form wouldn’t suggest they will repeat that, but you never know. Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue, eighth at Badminton, are leaderboard climbers and should spearhead.

    Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold HDC lead France’s effort as members of the Tokyo bronze medal-winning team. The Swiss team were only a penalty off bronze at last year’s Europeans; while Sweden took that medal, either could feature here. Japan’s efforts unravelled at the Olympics, but they were fourth at the last worlds and will hope to recapture that form.

    World Eventing Championships medal predictions

    World Eventing Championships riders: individual favourites

    Andrew Hoy

    Andrew and Vassily De Lassos haven’t had a fence down or been more than two seconds over the cross-country time since 2019. Olympic individual bronze medallists, the Aussie pair’s good results since include second at Aachen, and while they won’t lead the dressage, they are virtually guaranteed to finish on that score.

    Laura Collett

    Brits will hope to see Badminton Horse Trials winners and Tokyo Olympic gold medallists Laura and London 52 battle with Michael Jung and FischerChipmunk FRH for top spot on the podium. Let’s hope two down at Burgham in August was a one-off.

    Alex Hua Tian

    After China’s efforts to field a team at last year’s Olympics, the nation’s representation has whittled down to just this one British-based rider again this time. Alex and Don Geniro were eighth at the Rio Olympics; more recently showjumping has been a weakness but with their dressage prowess, they can be competitive if it all comes together.

    Michael Jung

    The pride of Germany and six-time individual championship gold medallist was denied a third consecutive Olympic title last year when FischerChipmunk FRH broke a frangible across country. The pair’s record is extraordinary, with seven wins at four-star and five-star victory at Kentucky this spring, and they start as joint-favourites with Laura Collett.

    Tom McEwen

    Tom and Toledo De Kerser are a hugely successful pair, with world team gold, Olympic team gold and individual silver medals to their names, as well as a five-star win at Pau 2019. They have bounced back from their fall at Badminton this spring and should be sharper than ever in Pratoni.

    Julia Krajewski

    Amande De B’Neville stepped up for Julia in style last year when she took individual gold at the Olympics. Their form since has been solid rather than eye-catching and they will need to get their dressage score down again to mix it with the leaders in the first phase, but don’t rule them out.

    Tim Price

    The Kiwi rider brings forward last year’s Pau winner, Falco, who is owned by former British team rider Sue Benson. The pair have good form this year, bar getting stuck on the keyhole fence at Aachen in June, and they have experience at the venue as they were fourth at the test event in May.

    Oliver Townend

    Oliver and Ballaghmor Class are the most consistent five-star combination in the world with eight top-five finishes from eight starts at the level, including two wins at Burghley Horse Trials in 2019 and Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2021. Oliver will be hungry for a podium finish in Pratoni.

    Tamie Smith

    Championship debutant Tamie, a late-comer to the sport who didn’t ride internationally until she was in her thirties, and Mai Baum have been ninth at Kentucky and Badminton five-stars. They are dressage divas, but lack of speed across country might be their undoing. If they can crack that, the sky’s the limit for this US pair.

    Kazuma Tomoto

    The Japanese rider, who is based with William Fox-Pitt, has been relatively under the radar since fourth at the Olympics last year with Vinci De La Vigne JRA. A recent run at Hartpury didn’t go to plan for Vinci though he had good results earlier in the year.

    • For Horse & Hound’s full preview of the eventing World Championships, see 8 September edition of the magazine – order your copy online

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