Keep up to date with all the news from Badminton with HHO’s on-the-spot daily comment from Eventing Magazine Editor Kate Green

As predicted, Australia’s triple Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy riding Darien Powers has taken the lead after the first day’s dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horse trials.

However, Andrew is keeping a lid on the celebrations. “I’ve been in this position before,” he said ruefully, referring to 2000 when he led the dressage by a mile only to experience a silly glance-off across country.

The 16-year-old Darien Powers was perhaps a touch generously marked, for although his trot work was lovely and the general picture pleasing and correct, he was considerably above the bit and distracted.

Thumbs up for new dressage test

The new dressage test, written by the 1998 winner Chris Bartle, has been a talking point and asks for some difficult work for event horses, including more collection in the canter, half-passes at different points of the arena, a serpentine in which horses are tempted to, but must not, change legs.

Although some horses are clearly having difficulties in adjusting, generally riders welcome the new challenges.

Andrew Nicholson, lying eighth on his first ride New York, said: “It’s more interesting to ride because the movements come up thick and fast and certainly must be more fun for spectators.”

Chris Bartle himself is a relieved man, for he was worried that Word Perfect would misbehave and embarrass him in his own dressage test. However, despite a few bouncy moments, he managed to contain the 17hh gelding and is currently in sixth place.

“Like Mary King’s King William, horses are never the same when they’ve won Badminton; he did his best work in the two years before and has never been the samesince.”

In second is Cadre Noir rider Arnaud Boiteau, part of an unusually large French contingent, riding Expo Du Moulin, a 10-year-old Selle Francais. French team trainer Thierry Touzaint has decided that France will bemore competitive at team championships – they won team silver at last year’s Europeans – if the riders acquire more four-star experience.

Polly Stockton is third and had to rise above the daunting prospect of riding in front of her horse Eye Spy’s former rider, Mark Todd, who has flown over to Badminton to coach the New Zealand squad.

One of his prot‚g‚s, Kate Lambie riding Nufarm Alibi, has made a stunning start to her Badminton debut and is lying fourth. Kate, who tripped up on her four-star debut at Adelaide last year, immediately re-routed to the three-star home fixture at Puhinui and won. On the basis of this victory, she sold some horses to finance her trip over to Britain and has been based nearby in Great Somerford.

Results

1, Andrew Hoy, 37.6; 2, Arnaud Boiteau, 39.8; 3, Polly Stockton, 42.6; 4, Kate Lambie, 44.6; 5, Heidi Antikatzides, 45; 6, Chris Bartle, 45.6; 7, Bill Levett, 46.4; 8, Andrew Nicholson, 47.8; 9, Fabio Magni, 48.2; 10, Jeanette Brakewell, 48.8; 11, Vicky Brake, 48.8; 12, Franck Bourny, 50.

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