|William Fox-Pitt | Favourite For A Medal|
What's very exciting at about these World Equestrian Games is they are being held in the US, and there have been a number of excellent performances from a variety of nations during this season. It's always so different watching eventing during a Games year. I think it'll be even more interesting in 2012 as with the Olympics being held in the UK I think we'll see so many teams looking to train in Britain that year, and we've already been fielding calls about riders wanting to be based at our yard.
Anyway, back to WEG. The US team hasn't had the best run of luck in recent years, but home turf and one or two fresh faces on the team will, I think, have a positive effect on their performance. I do still have a niggling doubt over their readiness for next week's WEG, as their selection trial was both very late, and didn't exactly go according to plan. Their recent 4* record [the horses] outside of the US in recent years is sparse, and I still maintain this is where the real indicators to success lay, so I'm a little hesitant to predict a US team medal.
To be assured of a team medal requires 3 riders in the top 10, any other results relies too heavily on the mistakes of others, out on the cross country.
Where I do feel a lot more confident is in the following teams:
Possibly the most interesting and exciting team of all. With 3 exceptionally strong cross country performers (Mark, Andrew, Caroline), and albeit not the best dressage performances from their horses, if you take a look at how far they climb up the rankings, post dressage, you could easily see a top 6 placing coming from this team, provided Andrew Nicholson can keep his cool. I recon if the kiwis can improve their dressage scores by 10 points across the team, they'll have a team medal. Mark Todd has a remarkable talent for sqeezing every last drop of talent out of a horse, and whilst NZB Grass Valley isn't the pick of the New Zealand horses, I'll bet Mark's been working on getting this horse into the top 15 after Dressage.
Alltech have really gone all out in promoting these games, and I've seen so many great uses of social media and the internet, unlike anything we've ever seen at a WEG, creating probably the greatest buzz around an equestrian event so far. These are just the type of sponsors we need in the sport - so Alltech I salute you! I just wish I'd noticed a few of these promotions a little earlier with some great prizes on offer.
Looking forward, London 2012 is going to be even more exciting as so many of the horses running here are being tipped as ones to watch for 2012.
The game's afoot! Let the games begin......
ps. for those of you going to WEG, if you only get to see one horse go cross country, make sure it's Opposition Buzz - you'll be amazed!