View this post on Instagram
Will there be a shake-up at the top? We can’t watch. 🙈 Show jumping kicks off in a few hours at @5etoilesdepau. Watch live on @horseandcountrytv 😬 . . . #equiratings #eventingmanager #les5etoilesdepau #pau2020 #fivestar #livestreaming #horseandcountry #eventers #eventersofinstagram
The finale at Pau can never be underestimated — since 2008, it’s statistically the toughest of all the CCI5* showjumping tracks in the world, and with a leaderboard this tightly-bunched, no one can afford any errors if they want to stay near the top of the pack, let alone take the win.
Let’s take a closer look at how the best of the bunch after cross-country may fare…
Laura Collett and Mr Bass
Though not in contention for a win in 15th place provisionally, this’ll be a crucial round to watch: Mr Bass has the most consistent showjumping record in the field. He’ll also be a useful fact-finder for Laura, who leads the whole shebang with the more inexperienced London 52. Look for a clear round here — and prepare for a slew of tummy butterflies on the rare chance it doesn’t happen.
Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser
Currently in sixth place, last year’s winners are among the very best showjumpers in the field. They’ve had just one rail internationally since mid-2016, which they took at the World Equestrian Games at Tryon, and they’ve jumped clear at all six of their five-star runs otherwise. The pressure’s off them this year, too, so we’re likely to see them pile it all on those above them with a copybook clear.
Mollie Summerland and Charly van ter Heiden
This is a debut five-star for both horse and rider, so much of this will be a fact-finding mission: Charly’s never run over the length or intensity of course he did yesterday, and so he could be coming out tired today. They’re on good jumping form lately, with a clear round in the deep going at Little Downham CCI4*-S at the start of the month and a clear on the surface at Boekelo CCI4*-L, which gave Mollie a taste of high-profile pressure, too. A clear round is possible for them, but they’ve had relatively few in their career. This could be a two-poler, but Mollie’s been riding out of her skin this week and so we could see the round of their lives today.
Alex Bragg and Zagreb
Zagreb’s showjumping rounds have historically been heartbreakers — he lost the win at Luhmühlen last year with a rail, and missed out on second place here last year with two. He’s had two clear rounds in his five-star career, though, and both have come here — so with less pressure on his shoulders this year, it could happen. More likely, though, this is a four-fault round.
Tim Price and Wesko
‘Old boy’ Wesko is historically a reliable showjumper, and Tim is cool as a cucumber in this kind of environment, so while they’ve had the odd rail here and there — notably, more often in short-format four-stars than on the final day of a three-day — we’re putting this up as a clear round that makes things very tense at the top.
Piggy March and Brookfield Inocent
Both our top two pairs are five-star debutant horses, which adds a huge question mark to everything they do: they’ve simply never jumped after a test like yesterday’s before. Brookfield Inocent trends more towards a clear than a rail, though, and he jumped like a dream in the final phase of Blenheim CCI4*-L, which he won on his debut. He’s come out looking fresh and well today, and would surprise no one with a clear today.
Laura Collett and London 52
Like Piggy and Brookfield Inocent, this is a big unknown — but London 52 ties for having the best showjumping form in this field. He’s jumped brilliantly in both his CCI4*-L runs at Boekelo on a similar surface, so it’s very doable — as long as the loud crowd and big atmosphere doesn’t put him off.