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Thursday, September 02, 2010  •  17:46 BST


British riders Mary King, William Fox-Pitt and Laura Collett remain at the top of the leader board at the end of the first day of dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

The British trio remained unbeaten having set the standard in the dressage arena early this morning. Mary King, who at the end of the month will be a member of the British team competing at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky, sits in first place with Apache Sauce. The 14-year-old owned by Gillian Jonas has previously been placed here with Mary – 12th last year and fourth in 2008. “He is a bit of a redhead and not a consistent horse in dressage but I think as he gets older he is also settling down a bit,” said Mary who will ride her second horse – the homebred mare Kings Temptress – late tomorrow afternoon.

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 still in second place with the Thoroughbred 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 and how he goes cross-country will depend on the first 10 fences as he is the sort that can tend to hold their breath.” William will finalise the dressage phase tomorrow with his second ride Seacookie.

Twenty-one year-old Laura Collett impressed the Ground Jury to be in third place at her first Burghley. While it is a first time at Burghley for Laura – a member of this year’s gold medal winning British Young Rider team – her partner 15-year-old Ginger May competed here with in 2004 with Bermudan rider MJ Tumbridge and was latterly ridden by Andrew Nicholson. “I am thrilled with her test,” said Laura of Ginger May who is one of just seven mares in the competition.

Pippa Funnell and the French show jumping bred Mirage D’Elle are fourth and James Robinson and the veteran Comanche sixth. Irish-Army Captain Geoff Curran and The Jump Jet broke the British stranglehold to be placed fifth. Geoff from Co Waterford is based at the Army Equitation School in Dublin.

The local Fitzwilliam Pony Club was the winner of the Pony Club inter-branch show jumping competition – supported by the Animal Health Trust. The quartet of; Amy Wells (Austin), Will Rawlin (Jester), Sophie Beaty (Little Big Man) and Emily Meredith (Pudding), the only team to finish on a clean sheet over the two round competition, received their prizes from Pippa Funnell.

The second day of dressage begins at 09.30 tomorrow morning. Selina Elliott from North Somerset will be the first in the arena with Bodidily.