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Thursday, September 02, 2010  •  13:41 BST

Mary King riding APACHE SAUCE

Mary King riding APACHE SAUCE


British rider Mary King has set the standard with a high scoring dressage test at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. A fluent test in perfect weather conditions for dressage gave Mary and the 14-year-old Apache Sauce a score of 44.8 despite an error of course during the canter work towards the end of the test.
“That’s the first in a long time that I have done that – I was so lulled into being calm and correct I didn’t hear the bell – but I think that what I lost in the error I made up for with better marks for the movement,” said Mary, who last won Burghley 14-years ago. “I was particularly pleased with him today. He is a bit of a redhead and not a consistent horse in dressage. If it had been windy – as last year – he couldn’t have done that but I think as he gets older he is also settling down a bit.” On their last outing the pair was fifth in the British Open at Gatcombe and last year at Burghley was 12th. “I had heard that the course here had been softened a bit this year and I think Captain Phillips has done a great job. I think the changes are for the better especially at the Discovery Valley (6a,b & c) as it was too difficult last year and for so many Burghley was over too early. However there is still plenty out there to catch out a few.”

William Fox-Pitt, who will join Mary in the British team for the forthcoming World Equestrian Games in Kentucky at the end of the month, is currently in second place with Macchiato. Just two penalties behind the leaders their score of 46.8 is almost 10 penalties more than the score they received last year. “I am delighted,” said William. “That was his best ever test however there is a lot to do over the next few days.” The combination retired on the cross country course last year. Both riders will be back in the arena tomorrow afternoon with their second rides.

Twenty-one year-old Laura Collett has got her first Burghley off to a good start with a mark of 47.0 for her test which puts her and Ginger May Killinghurst in third place. While it is a first time at Burghley for Laura – a member of this year’s gold medal winning British Young Rider team – 15-year-old Ginger May competed here with in 2004 with Bermudan rider MJ Tumbridge. She is also a half sister to Andrew Nicholson’s former successful ride Lord Killinghurst with who Andrew gained three consecutive third places at Burghley (2003, ’04 & ‘05) and was fourth on their last appearance here in 2007. Ginger May is by the British based Selle Francais Dallas while Lord Killinghurst is by the thoroughbred Sullafah. Both are out of Killinghurst Girl who was by the Hanoverian Maple Duellist."I am thrilled - she was a really good girl," said Laura. "However there is a really big course out there and as she can be rather strong cross country I think I will need to ride like Andrew (Nicholson)."