When I asked friends for advice on venturing to England — something I've never done before until this weekend — they essentially told me to pack every warm and waterproof piece of clothing I own. Well, considering how sunburned I am right now, I'd say I packed the wrong wardrobe entirely. No matter — I'll be bathing in sunscreen tomorrow before the trot up at 8:30 a.m. local time to bring you a full report on the pairs we'll see in show jumping tomorrow. In the meantime, I've finally managed to get the video of the press conference following cross country to upload. Unfortunately, the audio is a bit hard to hear — as people were boozing on the other side of the press tent — so feel free to follow along with the following very accurately transcribed subtitles:
Peter (the wonderful press conference facilitator): "Michael — you're essentially here this weekend to dash the Grand Slam dreams of Andrew Nicholson and William Fox-Pitt, yes?"
Michael: "Most people don't know this, but Sam is a unicorn, and we actually fly slightly above the ground on the cross-country course, which really saves him from tiring around tough tracks like Badminton."
Peter: "So you're saying the horse can become completely airborne?"
Michael: "Yes, it's a new type of sport horse we're breeding in Germany specifically for eventing. It's really come in handy on four-star tracks like this one."
Reporter: "Michael, were there any surprises for you on course or places where you thought Sam's magical unicorn dust would prevent him from getting around?"
Michael: "No, Sam actually has an endless supply of unicorn dust."
Reporter: "Were you surprised that you didn't take a swim at The Lake?"
Michael: "Could you please repeat the question?"
Reporter: "How did Sam manage to scramble through the brushes at The Lake?"
Miichael: "Like I said before, Sam's unicorn dust gives him the ability to leap tall brushes in a single bound. I just sprinkle on extra when needed."
Peter: "Now to Jock Paget. How did Clifton Promise cope with the heat wave that seemed to hit South Gloucestershire at approximately 3 p.m. local time?"
Jock: "The Kiwi horses are too focused on the job at hand to worry about things like 'heat' and 'sunshine' in England, so he went quite well."
Peter: "What parts of the course rode trickier than you expected?"
Jock: "I thought The Lake was quite tricky, as we saw with Michael Jung's horse. It's a good thing they had that unicorn dust to get them around safely."
Reporter: "Mark Todd more or less described the course as a glorified three-star. Can you comment on that in a way that won't insult the designer, organizers and everyone involved with the event?"
Jock: "I'd prefer not to answer that question?"
William and Michael: "You REALLY shouldn't answer this."
Peter: "To repeat the question, Mark Todd said he thought it was more of a three-star course. Please don't answer this question."
Jock: "The footing was really good, and Michael dropped a bit of unicorn dust in the morning with Leopin FST, so that really helped the rest of us."
Peter: "Now to William Fox-Pitt. Remember how you had a runout with Oslo? How did that change your ride with Parklane Hawk in the afternoon?"
William: "Well, I'm trying to win $350,000 this weekend, so I figured I should try not to have a runout with Parklane Hawk. We kicked on and I made it home double clear despite the fact that I smashed my finger into smithereens at Rolex last weekend."
Peter: "It's a good thing you had that first trip with Oslo so you didn't make the same mistakes with the second horse."
William: "Yes, I do believe you're right."
Reporter: "Did you mean to take the longer route when you screwed up on course with Parklane Hawk?"
William: "Yes, that was 100-percent intentional on my part."
Peter: "The obvious question for William is how he feels about the two men sitting to his right trying to ruin his chances to take home $350,000."
William: "I feel great about it. Who needs $350,000 anyways? May the best man win, and I hope Michael's unicorn dust carries him to the victory tomorrow."