Marcio Jorge (BRA) and Coronel MCJ were popular and convincing winners of the Aquece Rio International Horse Trials, the test event that wound to a close at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Centre today. In front of a huge contingent of voluble fans, Jorge steered the talented grey to a supremely confident clear over the coloured fences to claim victory – and the gold medal – by a huge margin over runner-up Marcio Appel (Cross Rock), with Marcelo Tosi (Glenfly) in bronze.
Jorge had taken over the lead after cruising round Saturday’s cross country course well inside the time, but had only a slim 2.7 penalty lead over his main rival and compatriot Marcelo Tosi going into the final day. But Jorge and Coronel never faltered in today’s Jumping phase to complete on the mark of 44.5 that they earned in the Dressage two days earlier. The winners were the only pair to finish on their Dressage score, leaving them 18.8 penalties – four fences – clear of the opposition.
Going into the Jumping test, Marcelo Tosi had a three-fence advantage over Marcio Appel, and looked set to claim silver, but Glenfly took a brick out of the wall at the third and then lowered poles from a further four fences to rack up 20 penalties and drop to bronze.
Marcio Appel and Cross Rock faulted only once, kicking out the top rail at the Brazilian green and yellow triple bar and, with a final score of 63.3, held on for the silver ahead of Tosi. And Appel’s good form continued, as he also slotted his second ride, Iberon Jmen, into fourth with a clear Jumping round, overtaking Nilson Da Silva and Tiger Lu who added eight faults to their total when taking out the first two parts of the combination.
After the presentation ceremony, with medals presented by Nawal el Moutawakel, Chair of the IOD Coordination Commission for Rio 2016, and the lap of honour, Marcio Jorge talked of his determination to be a part of the Brazilian team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“There’s strong competition to get in the team and it will be a tough selection, but we’re in a good position now as we had very few at this level in the past and we had no substitutes”, he said.
“The Rio 2016 legacy will be spectacular, not only for equestrian, but for all other sports. It will be a great incentive to get a new generation into sport. And of course it also helps the high-performance athletes. I think the Olympics will leave us among the best sporting countries.”
Silver medallist Marcio Appel was bullish about Brazil’s chances of a place on the medal podium next year. “We have a real shot at an Olympic medal. Since the last Olympic Games, we’ve been training really hard and a lot of investment has gone into the team. Having the Olympic Games here in Brazil means that you’re a lot happier to get up early in the morning and work hard.”
With only Brazilian horses competing at the Test Event it was always going to be a victory for the host country, but the quality of the competition, and the impressive Deodoro venue with its dedicated back of house team and welcoming volunteers was a win for Brazil too. Roll on Rio 2016!
Aquece Rio International Horse Trials (final results) – 1, Coronel MCJ (Marcio Jorge), BRA, 44.5 penalties; 2, Cross Rock (Marcio Appel), BRA, 63.3; 3, Glenfly (Marcelo Tosi), BRA, 67.2; 4, Iberon Jmen (Marcio Appel), BRA, 68.4; 5, Tiger Lu (Nilson da Silva), BRA, 72.1; 6, Estiva TW (Serguei Fofanoff), BRA, 72.1.