Aussie duo to jump for equestrian gold

Edwina Tops-Alexander will lead a two-pronged Australian assault on gold in Wednesday's final two rounds of the showjumping at the London Olympics.

Tops-Alexander was fourth in qualifying after dropping just one gate in three rounds of competition - her only error coming on the 10th obstacle on Monday when her horse Itot du Chateau clipped the top rail for four penalty points.

Fellow Aussie Julie Hargreaves - much to her own surprise - also progressed, her 13 penalty points enough to see her scrape into the 34-person field.

With all competitors to start on zero for the last two rounds, both Hargreaves and Tops-Alexander will be in contention for medals.

But the form of the latter proves she will be one of the leading fancies for gold, with only three jumpers doing better than Tops-Alexander over the opening three rounds.

Tops-Alexander admitted she had allowed herself to think about the prospect of a medal.

"Of course I do, you've got to look for that," she said.

"You've got to stay positive, you've got to have your focus on that - that's what we're all here for at the end of the day."

With designers expected to produce two tough courses for the final rounds, Tops-Alexander said the day's rest would help her horse.

"He was a little more tired than he has done but that's normal, it's the fourth day of jumping now - he put in a great round," Tops-Alexander said.

"It's all about the horse trusting you, the horse believing you. The horses are so sensitive and got amazing instinct - he knows me."

Hargreaves thought her competition was over on Monday after she picked up a one-point time penalty to go with her four-point penalty for a knocked rail.

"I think that my time fault will cost me the next round for sure," Hargreaves said after her ride on Wednesday, when three-quarters of the field still had to compete.

"They will take the equal 12s maybe and that time fault will put me out of it so that time fault's extremely disappointing."