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Saturday, September 04, 2010  •  12:54 BST

Mary King riding APACHE SAUCE

Mary King riding APACHE SAUCE

MARY AND APACHE SAUCE LEAD THE WAY

Mary King and Apache Sauce have taken an early lead on cross country day at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. They produced a clear round inside the time to stay on their dressage score of 44.8 and will now stay in the lead until at least 14.00 – as Swede Christoffer Forsberg (no. 66) is the first rider who can go ahead. Mary also has the luxury of knowing she can go no lower than sixth place. “He jumped in his own unique style sometimes which doesn’t always look tidy but it’s his way. I thought I was a bit down the time but kicked on and he responded,” said Mary who rides Kings Temptress later this afternoon.

William Fox-Pitt and Macchiato collected just two time penalties and are in second place. “People might be saying it is a softer course but it felt every bit a big Burghley course,” said William. “But the Discovery Valley and Trout hatchery are kinder which is giving the horses more opportunity to get going.”

So far four combinations have gone inside the time; Louise Skelton and Partly Pickled, Anna Warnecke and Twinkle Bee and Andrew Nicholson who brought Armada home with five seconds to spare. “He is only 11 but he feels much older and more experienced and is definitely starting to listen a bit more,” said Andrew. “I knew there were a lot of big, wide fences out there and there are. But they ride well as long as you get the right turn to them.”

Young trailblazer Angus Smales did a brilliant job to set the standard for everyone giving Cornsay Grouse a positive ride. Angus was thrilled to come home without jumping penalties – his fourth clear round over the Burghley course. “The feeling just doesn’t get any better than this,” said Angus on his return to the collecting ring.

Burghley first timer Laura Collett also had a successful clear on the 15-year-old mare Ginger May Killinghurst. “Andrew (Nicholson) told me not to even try to control her which I did – but it was a bit scary over those fences,” said Laura nonetheless with a big smile.