Olympians and Rio selected Eventing team riders Shane Rose and Chris Burton have guided Australia to an historic victory in Germany overnight, with the team winning gold in the Aachen CICO3*.
The Australian team, which also included Olympian Sonja Johnson and World Equestrian Games representative Samantha Birch, defeated a competitive nine-nation field including a strong German outfit which until this year had been undefeated at this event. This is also the first time that Australia has won a round of the FEI Nations Cup Eventing series.
The Australian quartet led the field from the start and extended their lead of just 0.7 penalties after the Dressage to a convincing final margin of 9.5 penalties with four fast Cross Country rounds.
Rose and his Rio selected horse CP Qualified, who have recently arrived in Europe from their Camden (NSW) base to prepare for the Olympics, finished second in the individual standings, just 0.4 of a penalty behind the reigning Olympic and European Champion Michael Jung (GER).
Rose’s team mates, British-based London 2012 Olympian Chris Burton (Nobilis 18), who is a former winner at Aachen, and Samantha Birch (Hunter Valley II), plus Sonja Johnson (Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison), who had flown over from Western Australia, finished fifth, 10th and 21st respectively.
With less than 20 days to go until the team and individual Eventing competitions begins in Deodoro, the Aussies are hoping the victory is a sign of things to come. In Rio the team will aim to reclaim a podium position in the team’s competition after finishing sixth in London. The team won silver in Beijing and famously won consecutive gold medals at the 1992, 1996 and Sydney 2000 Games.
A Boost for Australian Eventing
“It was a great team event to win here in Aachen and a fantastic boost for Australian Eventing,” said Rose. “We all came here as a team well prepared and focused and the win was what we wanted.”
Rose’s performance also confirms the 43 year old as a strong contender for an individual medal in Rio.
“Individually I am really happy with the three phases, in particular the dressage phase where it all came together really well. With a few weeks to Rio we will continue to fine tune and be ready as a team for the challenges there.
“I have only been in Europe for one week and of course coming to Aachen is a fantastic opportunity. I have always had this event on my program and plans through to Rio. We don’t have many events like this in Australia and to be able to run my horse over a beautiful course was super – however I should have gone one second faster,” he said.
Rose and Burton will join Sydney Olympic gold medallist Stuart Tinney and London Olympian Sam Griffiths for the Eventing team competition in Rio. The athletes will head to a pre-Games staging camp in the UK beginning on 24 July.
Source: Equestrian Australia