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Ceylor LAN, the 2016 Rio Olympic mount of British eventer Kitty King, has returned to competition after almost a year out of action through injury.

The 11-year-old, owned by Jacqueline Owen, Diana Brown and Samantha Wilson, was withdrawn from Badminton at the end of April 2017. It is thought “Sprout” had knocked himself, possibly in the field or in training, and heat was found in his leg.

At the time, Kitty said that Ceylor LAN would have a “quiet few weeks” to recover fully, but he was not seen again on the eventing circuit last year. His last outing was when he was placed sixth in Belton Park’s CIC3* on 31 March 2017.

The gelding, who has amassed 707 BE points during his career, completed his first full event back at Gatcombe Park on Sunday (25 March). He was fourth in open intermediate section X, with a 29.3 dressage and a double jumping clear, clocking up 19.6 cross-country time-faults.

“I was so grateful to get the run and that I was early in my section as it meant we got the best of the going,” said Kitty. “I was a bit disappointed with my dressage mark as he did a lovely test, but he jumped really well and I just let him have a quiet cross-country run so that he could find his own rhythm, and he hadn’t forgotten what to do — it’s nice to have him back.”

Like many other eventers this season, Kitty’s original plan for Sprout was scuppered by poor weather.

“We went to Tweseldown open intermediate to just do the dressage and showjumping with him, but we were quite late on in the day and the ground by that stage had deteriorated so I withdrew after the first phase,” explained Kitty. “Our next run, Lincoln, was abandoned, so I’m pleased I entered plenty of open intermediates so that we eventually got to have a go at Gatcombe.”

Kitty admitted that the way Sprout went across country was particularly pleasing “especially as we hadn’t managed to go cross-country schooling properly due to the weather”.

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“Our local course, Chedworth, very kindly let me jump a corner and into their water, and that was it in terms of schooling,” she said.

As far as plans for this season are concerned, Kitty said that she will “take things as they come”.

“We are aiming for Luhmühlen, but we’ll build him up steadily and see how he feels.”

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