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Thursday, September 03, 2009  •  14:56 BST

Kai Ruder riding LEPRINCE DES BOIS

Kai Ruder riding LEPRINCE DES BOIS

KAI SETS THE STANDARD

German rider Kai Ruder has taken the early lead, half way through the first day of dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. The 38-year-old and LePrince Des Bois is so far, in the blustery and difficult dressage conditions, the only combination to score under 50 and with a mark of 46.7 has a comfortable lead. British-based Paul Tapner and the feisty Thoroughbred Inonothing are holding second place with 51.5 marginally ahead of compatriot Clayton Fredericks and Poilu on 51.7, a mark that pleased Clayton as the 11-year-old Thoroughbred is contesting his first four-star event. “Dressage is not always his strong point but he tried his hardest especially in the conditions which are not easy for a sensitive Thoroughbred – the flowers are constantly wobbling and there are lots of flapping noises which aren’t helping,” said Clayton.

British rider William Fox-Pitt admitted that Macchiato didn’t always have his mind on the job and with some mistakes in the test had to settle for a mark of 55.7. “He warmed up well but it is quite blustery in the arena and he got a bit distracted and wasn’t always with me,” said William who has a second ride and is the last to go tomorrow with Seacookie (no. 100).

The 10-year-old LePrince Des Bois is the only stallion in the field this year. Despite being a Selle Francais he has British connections being a son of John and the late Debbie Johnston’s British-bred stallion Yarlands Summer Song, who is a son of the well-known British eventing sire Fleetwater Opposition. He is also related to Harry Meade’s ride Midnight Dazzler as both Summer Song and Midnight Dazzler’s sire Catherston Dazzler share the same dam – Welton Gazelle by Sam Barr’s foundation stallion Welton Gameful.