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Aussie eventers in second position

7 August 2016

EQUESTRIAN: Australia is holding down second position in the eventing team competition after strong performances from Chris Burton and Sam Griffiths on opening day.
Only 1.4 penalties separate the Aussies (83.90) from leading nation Germany (82.50), but with a second day of dressage, followed by cross country and show jumping still to contest, the competition is just beginning.

Individually Burton and his ride Santano II are occupying second position and Griffiths with his horse Paulank Brockagh are ninth.

Burton couldn’t be happier with his first phase performance in which he rode to a score of 37.60. Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt is setting the pace with a score of 37. 

“He makes my job really easy, that lovely horse. He’s super,” Burton said.

“I was nervous as I rode down to the warm-up but I thought, come on Chris if you ever get a chance to enjoy yourself it’s on this horse in this arena at the Olympics.

“After the medium trot I heard a bit of a gasp from the crowd and I thought, that’s not a bad gasp.”

Burton’s team-mate Griffiths was occupying third position at the lunch break after receiving a score of 46.30.

“I was pleased with my performance,” Griffiths said. “It’s just a few marks off my personal best and I was hoping to go better than that, but the judging is tough at the Olympic Games.

“There’s still two more phases of competition to go and my horse’s forte is the cross country and show jumping, so that’s hopefully where I can come to the fore as a team member.”

Griffith’s said his horse Paulank Brockagh was well prepared for the occasion.

“She’s used to going into some pretty big arenas and she handled it really well,” he said.

“It’s a great atmosphere out there, beautiful arena and fantastic setting.”

Eventing dressage continues on Sunday with Olympians Stuart Tinney (Pluto Mio) and Shane Rose (CQ Qualified) in action on the main arena at the Olympic Equestrian Centre at Deodoro.

All riders will take on the cross country course on Monday with individual and team medallists to be decided on show jumping day which is Tuesday.

Australia is looking to return to the podium after finishing sixth at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Michelle Cook

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