Jonty Evans steals the show at Rio Olympics with double clear

Jonty Evans stole the show again yesterday in terms of the Irish eventing team, producing a double clear on Cooley Rorkes Drift to finish ninth in the individual classification.

The 44-year-old went into yesterday’s show jumping competition in 16th place, having jumped clear at a cost of 22.80 time penalties on Monday’s cross-country, which punished only the very best of riding.

A show jumping clear early yesterday saw him progress to the medal decider last night in 13th place and, while there was never any hope of challenging for an honour, the Cotswolds-based rider and his 10-year-old gelding again acquitted themselves well with a flawless display, one of only seven from the 25-strong final line-up, that saw them finish on 64.60 penalties.

The battle for team honours saw the Irish quartet placed eighth of 13 nations, with Clare Abbott matching Evans’s show jumping clear on Euro Prince, while Mark Kyle and Jemilla finished with eight faults. 

Padraig McCarthy had to sit out the final day, having been among 16 riders eliminated in the cross-country.

Yesterday’s battle for medals was full of drama, with Astier Nicolas and Piaf de B’Neville producing a crucial clear to clinch team gold for France, the only team among the leaders to open the day with a full complement.

The competition was tense, boiling down to the last four riders into the arena, with defending champions Germany surging from fourth overnight to take silver, just 3.8pens behind the French, while Australia relinquished their tenuous grip on gold, being forced to settle for bronze, a mere 2.5pens further back.

Nicolas also featured in the battle for individual glory, but had to settle for silver, with reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung of Germany living up to his favourites tag when taking gold with Sam FBW. 

American Phillip Dutton claimed bronze on the Irish Sport Horse Mighty Nice.

Meanwhile, Judy Reynolds was upbeat yesterday as she prepared to take to the dressage arena. The competition opens today, but the Kildare rider, due to her world ranking, does not make an appearance until tomorrow.

Results over the two days are combined with Friday’s grand prix special to decide the team medals. 

Then, the top 18 riders go through to Monday’s grand prix freestyle to decide the individual medals.

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