Irish Olympic eventing team rider Pádraig McCarthy said Monday’s cross-country phase will pose a major test for riders.
The Tipperary native said the consensus was that the course was the toughest since the 2000 Games.
“I just walked the cross-country and it looks like a very strong track. I have not been at another Olympics, but speaking to the experienced riders, the feeling is it’s the strongest cross-country track at least since Sydney,” said McCarthy.
The Devon-based rider’s horse Simon Porloe and the mounts of his team-mates Clare Abbott (Euro Prince), Jonty Evans (Cooley Rorkes Drift), and Mark Kyle (Jemilla) all passed the first inspection yesterday.
McCarthy is first into the dressage arena this morning for Ireland, who were drawn third to go of 13 teams in the competition, with Abbott up in the afternoon.
Evans undertakes his dressage tomorrow, with Kyle as the anchor in the afternoon. The quartet tackle the cross-country on Monday with the deciding show jumping phase on Tuesday.
There were two significant changes to two teams yesterday, with favourites and defending champions Germany forced to withdraw So Is Et, the horse of Andreas Ostholt. It had lost a shoe in training and had been unsound.
Julia Krajewski and Samourai Du Thot have been installed as replacements. New Zealand’s Jock Paget was forced to withdraw Clifton Lush after the horse cut its cheek on a pipe outside its stable. He is replaced by Tim Price and the Irish Sport Horse gelding Ringwood Sky Boy.
The Germans, led by reigning Olympic individual champion and current world number one Michael Jung, are chasing a hat-trick of team golds, while they are also world and European title holders.
Meanwhile Olympic-bound show jumper Greg Broderick last night won the Jumping in the City Grand Prix at Shelbourne Park on Zuidam. The Tipperary rider leaves today for Rio de Janeiro, where he competes on MHS Going Global.
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