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James Paterson-Robinson and Qulander Z (photo: Nicol Taylor)
The first phase of the Olympic Games selection process for Australian Jumping combinations has entered its second week.
A further four riders were given their first chance to impress national selectors overnight at the Linz CSIO4* Nations Cup event in Austria. Last weekend, six combinations were assessed at the Lummen CSIO4* in Belgium.
With national selectors onsite, the opening round of the Linz CSIO4* Nations Cup was the first of two opportunities for riders attending this weekend’s event to put a sound performance on the board. Riders will have a second chance to impress selectors when they compete in the first round of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Australia’s four member team comprised Danielle Butcher and Twins Big Higgs, Matt Williams and Watch Me VD Mangelaar, James Paterson Robinson and Qulander Z and Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set.
First to go for Australia was Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set who jumped positively and set the standards high by completing a first rate, four fault round.
Danielle Butcher and Twins Big Higgs finished with 12 jumping faults and two time penalties to end with a total of 14 faults. This was the combination’s first time representing Australia.
27 year old Matt Williams, who was a member of the Jumping team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, aboard a relatively inexperienced Watch Me VD Mangelaar, had four rails down. Williams has withdrawn Mangelaar from the remainder of the competition after deciding his horse needs treatment for a sore back.
Australia’s best performance came from its final combination, James Paterson-Robinson and Qulander Z. The duo delivered a faultless round which earned them a certificate of capability for the Olympic Games.
“While this is a disappointing result for Matt, our remaining three riders have achieved pleasing results and James did a fantastic job to finish with a clear round,” said National Performance Director for Jumping, Stephen Lamb.
“With just a single rail down, Wendy’s weekend has also started positively and Danielle has achieved a great result at her first outing representing Australia,” he added.
Australia finished the team’s event on 18 faults ahead of Belgium and Austria and did not accept the invitation to compete in the second round.
The eventual winners of the competition were the Ukraine followed by Brazil and Canada.
The Linz CSIO4* Grand Prix class starts at 12:00am AEST Monday 14 May (2pm local time).
Catch all the action online on FEI TV as they broadcast from Linz – visit http://www.feitv.org/page/Live/0,,12664,00.html