Thursday, August 30, 2007 18:17 GMT
ANDREW RULES AFTER FIRST DAY OF DRESSAGE
Andrew Nicholson and Lord Killinghurst hold the lead after the first day of dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. The New Zealander, a winner here in 1995 (Buckley Province) and 2000 (Mr Smiffy), was the only rider of the day to break the 40 penalty barrier scoring 39.6. Robin and Nicola Salmon’s Lord Killinghurst, now 16 years old has been a consistent four-star performer, and incredibly has been third at Burghley on three previous occasions; 2003, 2004 and 2005. Earlier this year the combination was fifth at Badminton.
“He is a very experienced horse and is quite wise to everything but he has never done his dressage on a Thursday before – he is usually drawn late on Friday – and the fact that it is a bit quieter today might have fooled him a bit,” said Andrew who like many says the cross-country course is big. “The first half is big and wide and there are plenty of places where it will be easy to have a run-off. The second half is a bit smaller but that can be just as difficult as you have to keep focussed.”
William Fox-Pitt, who has also won here twice before, is currently second with Philip Adkins Parkmore Ed. At the opposite end of the experience spectrum to Lord Killinghurst, Parkmore Ed is contesting his first four-star event. “He might be up for it – he might not. He has had good preparation but there are some fences out there he might not have seen before,” said William who tomorrow rides his 2005 winner Balincoola, one of those favoured to take this year’s title.
Andrew’s fellow New Zealander Caroline Powell finished the day in third place with Lexi Mackinnon’s feisty Irish-bred grey Lenamore. The 14-year-old has previously completed Badminton on three occasions and was fifth here in 2005. Just four weeks ago the combination were second in the CIC three-star at Gatcombe. Caroline has devised a new but seemingly successful preparation for Lenamore’s dressage. She said, “We warm-up in the arena below and then at the right time trot up to the main arena and go straight in without going near the collecting ring – it seems to work but the timing is crucial.” Caroline also thinks the course has some big fences. “The cross-country is big – bring it on!”
Dressage continues tomorrow. British rider Neil Fox will be first in the arena at 09.00hrs while in Ring Two the finals of the Burghley Young Event Horse, for four and five-year-old horses take place with many of the top riders competing here also vying for a place in the top ten of this coveted young horse class.