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Schedule to blame says Tops-Alexander
By Steve Larkin
02:28 AEST Thu Aug 9 2012

Australian show jumper Edwina Tops-Alexander blasted cramped scheduling which left her horse running on empty in their disappointing 20th place at the London Olympics.

Tops-Alexander believes a gruelling program which forced her 16-year-old gelding to jump five in six days ultimately cruelled her Olympic campaign.

Tops-Alexander's horse, Itot Du Chateau, was one of the oldest to make Tuesday's show jumping final.

The Australian, the world's top ranked female show jumper and rated pre-Games as a gold medal prospect, collected 13 penalty points in a competition won by Switzerland's Steve Guerdat with no penalty points.

Tops-Alexander said Itot Du Chateau was disadvantaged by the schedule.

"There is a lot of jumping here to do, a little too much," she said.

"In my opinion they don't really need to have the first day of the individual (jumping) ... they should have it spaced a bit more, unfortunately it's not like that."

Tops-Alexander finished seventh in Beijing four years ago, where the show jumping was spread out more than in London.

"It's tough, we're all in the same boat," she said.

"But he's one of the oldest ones here.

"And it's a bit of shame because in Beijing they really had it spread out a lot more, we had two days off before the final.

"Here, he jumped four days (in a row), one day off, then two rounds (in the final).

"It's quite heavy for the horses.

"He definitely felt a little empty."

Fellow Australian Julia Hargreaves didn't make the medal round after four knocked obstacles attracted 17 penalty points in Tuesday's initial round.

"I have to remind myself it's the Olympic final, I never thought I would make it that far," Hargreaves said.

The 26-year-old blamed herself for the errors, which included knocking over three rapid-fire obstacles, termed the triple combination, and the last obstacle on the course.

"I was thinking I'm going clear and I'm almost home, and I didn't set him up well enough for the triple combination," she said.

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