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Friday, September 03, 2010  •  19:07 BST

TWO THYME STEPS TO IT

At the end of the second day of dressage it was all change at the top of the leader board at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Former double National Champions Ruth Edge and Two Thyme have a slender lead over British based New Zealand rider Caroline Powell and the grey Lenamore. Ruth, who is a respected dressage rider, recently winning Regional Championship titles with her specialist dressage horses, produced a fluent and harmonious test from Two Thyme, who is by the Thoroughbred Broadsword, that particularly impressed German judge Martin Plewa. The President of The Ground Jury awarded the combination over 77%. “His trot work was much better and Two Thyme liked the going so much out there that his extensions were particularly good,” said Ruth whose pervious highest placing here was 17th with Marsh Mayfly in 2006. “I had heard that the cross-country was softer than last year – but in my opinion the jumps don’t get any smaller and there are plenty of places to make mistakes – but on the plus side the going is second to none.”

Seventeen-year –old Lenamore continued his run of good form shown this year. He and long time partner Kelso-based New Zealander Caroline Powell were fifth at both Badminton and in the British Open at Gatcombe. “That was probably his best test ever,” said Caroline. “Maybe he’s learnt it at last but he is a funny horse he will either do it or he won’t,” said Caroline who literally walks Lenamore straight from the stable to the dressage arena as that is the way he likes it’. The course looks good and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Last year’s winner Oliver Townend and Carousel Quest are on course for a second win with a test good enough for third place – albeit just 1.1 penalties off the leader. “Everyone knows he’s a fragile horse so get him back here looking like he does is an achievement and a credit to the team,” said Oliver.

Both William Fox-Pitt and Mary King now have two horses currently in the top ten. The pair in fourth (Seacookie) and fifth (Apache Sauce) is separated by young Swedish debutant Christopher Forsberg who impressed with Grafman – an 18-year-old Swedish warmblood by the Oldenberg stallion Goldgraf.

Just ten penalties separate the top 12 riders after dressage; the equivalent of 25 seconds over the optimum time allowed for tomorrow’s cross country course of 30 fences which is 10min and 55seconds. “It takes a special horse to get round Burghley inside the time,” said Oliver, “And in my opinion Andrew Nicholson and Armada will be the ones to do it.”

Five hours of cross country action starts at 11.00 am tomorrow. Rutland based rider Angus Smales and Cornsay Grouse will be the first on the course.