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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | EQUESTRIAN

U.S. Riders Are Fourth as Australians Take Lead

September 16, 2000|From Associated Press

The favored Australians got a boost from the hometown crowd and the lead on the first day of the team three-day equestrian event, with the United States in fourth.

David O'Connor of The Plains, Va., led the U.S. riders with a score of 44.4 on Giltedge, second best of the day but far behind the Australians' Andrew Hoy, who scored 30.6 on Darien Powers.

"Darien Powers was magnificent, he couldn't have been better," Hoy said of his horse after his outstanding ride.

Australia also got help from Phillip Dutton on House Doctor, with a 46.0, the fourth-best score of the day, for a team total of 76.6.

The second U.S. rider, Nina Fout of Middleburg, Va., scored 58.6 on 3 Magic Beans, giving the U.S. a team total of 103.0 and fourth place in the early going behind Australia, Britain (94.6) and France (98.6).

Beans, as Fout calls him, was chosen for the team based on his cross-country jumping prowess rather than his dressage ability and actually exceeded expectations.

"We are thrilled," U.S. Coach Mark Phillips said. "It's the best test I've seen him do."

New Zealander Mark Todd, considered one of the great three-day riders in the world and looking for a gold medal in his final competition before retiring, had a disappointing day, posting a score of 58.60 points.

The remaining two riders on the 12 teams will ride their dressage test on Sunday, followed by cross-country endurance on Monday and stadium jumping on Tuesday. The event is scored by penalty points so, like golf, low score wins.

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