World Champion Zara Phillips slotted into fourth place at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after performing her dressage test on Toytown this morning. Overnight leader Lucinda Fredericks retains first place going into the last session of dressage.

Zara said she was pleased with her test, which scored 41.2, but Toytown was affected by the main arena atmosphere. The tension showed particularly in the rein back.

“He was a bit excited — he hasn’t been out for a little while — and his work should have been better,” she said.


Zara Phillips rides Toytown into fourth place at Badminton. Photo by Kit Houghton

The 25-year-old hasn’t decided yet whether she will run across country, with many riders still worried about the hard ground, despite ongoing work by the Badminton team.

“I’d love to run but he [Toytown] is my main concern, which is why I’m umming and ahing,” said Zara. “I’ll walk the course again today and make a decision in the morning.”

Other Badminton debutants also took the limelight this morning, with first-timers moving into second, third and sixth places. American ace Kim Severson lies second with her Athens Olympics silver medal winner Winsome Adante. She scored 35.8 to lie just one mark behind Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia.

“I was very happy with his [flying] changes,” said Kim. “They’ve always been nice but boring, so we’ve been working on getting them more expressive.”

German team member Hinrich Romeike performed the third sub-40 test to take third on 36.4. Hinrich, who works full time as a dentist, showed a consistent and relaxed test with his grey Marius Voigt-Logistik.

Hinrich’s fellow German Frank Ostholt was disappointed with his performance with Luhmühlen winner Air Jordan, who “got tense and nervous” due to the crowds close to the arena. They lie sixth.

Kim Severson said she was impressed with the work the Badminton team have put in so far on the ground, saying: “I walked the course last night and the ground’s significantly better than on Wednesday. It’s consistent with what we get at home.”

RESULTS AT FRIDAY LUNCHTIME

1. Headley Britannia (Lucinda Fredericks, AUS) 34.8
2. Winsome Adante (Kim Severson, USA) 35.8
3. Marius Voigt-Logistik (Hinrich Romeike, GER) 36.4
4. Toytown (Zara Phillips, GB) 41.2
5. Icare D’Auzay (Jean-Lou Bigot, FRA) 41.8
6. Air Jordan 2 (Frank Ostholt, GER) 42.2

Stay in touch with all the latest from Badminton on Horseandhound.co.uk with twice daily reports from H&H eventing editor Pippa Roome; blogs from H&H Editor Lucy Higginson and Pippa Roome; a daily round up of the best shopping bargains; and a picture gallery of Badminton Horse Trials highlights after the event.

Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full 18-page magazine report, including fantastic photographs capturing the best of the action, a run down on the problem cross-country fences, former Badminton winner Ginny Elliot’s view of the winning performance and the final scoreboard, on sale 10 May ’07.