French: Test event win is irrelevant

01 July 2012 / 17:38

Piggy French has dismissed her Olympic Test event triumph as "irrelevant" ahead of London 2012.

French will be back at Greenwich Park later this month as part of Great Britain's Olympic eventing team alongside world number one William Fox-Pitt, five-time Olympian Mary King, double Olympic bronze medallist Tina Cook and former world champion Zara Phillips.

She has already sampled Greenwich's unique lay-out and terrain by winning there last summer aboard her Olympics horse DHI Topper W. But the Leicestershire-based rider believes comparisons between then and now are not worth making.

"I think the only advantage the Test event gives me is that I have been to the venue before and so has the horse," French told Press Association Sport. "Winning it was irrelevant apart from the fact it was a positive event for me and the horse. You then get those good vibes when you go back to that venue.

"Other than that, the whole competition of an Olympics will be very different. It will be a completely different league - the standard will be immense. The pressure will be on, without doubt, but we've just to get on, do our personal bests and focus on the competition. We need to forget about everything else.

"The Greenwich cross-country course is very different to any other competition we do really. We are used to major competitions being held on an estate and having a large amount of space, whereas Greenwich is very compact. The cross-country time will be tight. So I think you have got to keep thinking as fast as you can."

All five British team members concluded competitive preparations on their Olympic horses this weekend at the Barbury International Horse Trials in Wiltshire. French was placed in three sections of the CIC two-star category, including a third place on Topper, while Fox-Pitt (Lionheart) and Phillips (High Kingdom) also saw everything go according to plan.

Cook (Miners Frolic) and King (Imperial Cavalier), were part of a 110-strong field in the CIC three-star, where they finished 22nd and 30th, respectively, following steady cross-country rounds on Sunday.

New Zealand star Andrew Nicholson, a bronze medallist at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, produced two brilliant cross-country performances to win the Barbury three-star with Avebury and finish second on Quimbo.

Lucy Wiegersma and Simon Porloe, a combination on the British reserve list for London, finished third, just ahead of Oliver Townend (Pepper Anne), while Tina Coudray (Ringwood Magister) led the American challenge in fifth.