Thursday afternoon at Badminton in cool and breezy conditions and as a very relaxed looking Tom and Toledo de Kerser rode out of the stables for the hack up to the main arena they looked for all the world like they were going off for an amble.
Tom has a unique ability to “chill” horses out and if he hadn’t been in top hat and tails and Toledo hadn’t been suited and booted to match you would never have known that they were just 40 minutes away from their first big test since Tryon WEG in September.
There is actually very little to say about their test apart from the fact it was simply stunning. Years ago I wrote for Christoph Hess at a squad training and he told me that the best tests just got a mark and the worst ones got an essay of comments on each movement! I think the writers today would have had very little to do.
A mark of 24.7 with an average of 75% was good enough to slot into second place behind Ollie Townend and Cillnabraddn Evo on a rather posh 19. What is so good to know with Tokyo in mind is that after winning Gold in Tryon amidst that funny atmosphere where the crowds were not huge but the constraints of working the horses in such a small area for 10 days played its own part in creating tension has left no lasting effect on Toledo.
I am absolutely certain that there is not a single other horse in the field that Tom would rather be sitting on come Saturday morning. Tom and Toldeo sitting on a 24 is a very dangerous position to be in as far as all the other competitors are concerned!