Nuri fails to spoil the party, but horses have to hang around

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2008, 12:00am

Business as usual, reported the Equestrian Company amid concerns Typhoon Nuri would wreak havoc on the final competition day of the events.

Of course, with the positive dope tests of four riders of four nations all for the same drug, business was not entirely in the smooth form it had been since the eventing competition began 13 days ago. However, as Typhoon Nuri neared, organisers explained the best plan was to run everything as scheduled.

'There's no point in moving the competition forward,' International Equestrian Federation veterinary delegate Leo Jeffcott said.

'No choice in going to compete [Friday] because of where the storm is going to be. We really had no choice but to continue with the schedule. We want to get through the competition as expeditiously as possible.'

The competition went as scheduled with only intermittent rain.

The presence of Typhoon Nuri has, however, affected the transport of the horses, many who were in the middle of being moved out of Hong Kong.

A Martin Air 747 freighter due to collect the dressage horses from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and Brazil is scheduled to stop over in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to wait out the storm.

Martin Atock, managing director of horse transport agency Peden Bloodstock, said the high winds would prevent the freighter from opening its cargo doors. It was expected that the horses' departure, scheduled for today, would be delayed by 21 hours.

Also affected are 14 individual dressage horses due to depart on a KLM flight this morning, which was also scheduled to take 200 passengers. It is possible the plane may leave without the horses in order to depart before the worst of the storm.

Atock said the delays would affect some of the showjumping horses but it is expected that their wait will be about six hours.