Andrew Hoy retains the lead at the end of the dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, but the top 10 are all within five marks of him.
Andrew took top spot this morning on the 2006 winner Moon Fleet, when Ruth Edge moved into second on Muschamp Impala. She has held this position this afternoon.
Lucy Wiegersma (pictured) made the most impact on the leader board this afternoon, taking third place on Shaabrak, the 14-year-old chestnut gelding with whom she finished seventh here two years ago.
“He’s always been reliable and never done a test out of the 40s,” said Lucy. “I’ve had the feeling for so long that he was capable of producing some really stunning work, and today we were beginning to get it. There’s still more to come.
“This time we scratched our heads and thought about the warm-up as in the past he’s either been over or underdone. This time we’ve gone for keeping him bright and sparkly. He needs a crowd of at least a 1,000 to show off.”
Another up-and-coming British rider also impressed this afternoon when Matthew Wright picked up several nines towards the end of his test to score 38 for fourth place with If You Want II.
John Peace bought this horse for Matthew, 25, to ride last year, and the pair won the CCI** at Necarne, Ireland, in September. The 12-year-old is French-bred and is a former winner of the seven-year-old world championships at Le Lion d’Angers, triumphing there in 2003 with Pascale Boutet.
Two of the most anticipated tests came at the very end of the dressage, when Mary King and William Fox-Pitt brought out their second rides, Imperial Cavalier and Tamarillo.
But neither of them could reach the top echelons of the leader board. Imperial Cavalier scored highly in the trot work, but then broke into trot in his first canter serpentine, missing the first flying change and then making mistakes in the others. Tamarillo contained his exuberance better than sometimes, but there were suggestions of bucks in his changes. These two horses are 11th equal going into tomorrow’s cross-country.
The general consensus is that Hugh Thomas’s course is one of the strongest he has produced at Badminton.
“I’ve been coming here as a rider since 1999 and it’s the most difficult Badminton I’ve walked since then,” said Lucy Wiegersma.
Riders feel the course is particularly intense in the Vicarage Ditch area, and some have expressed concern about the number of fences on left-hand curves.
“You want a horse who can jump well on a 20m circle to the left,” joked William Fox-Pitt yesterday.
Mary King will be the first rider on the course, starting on the white-faced chestnut Apache Sauce at 11am.
FINAL DRESSAGE RESULTS
1. Moon Fleet (Andrew Hoy, AUS) 35.4
2. Muschamp Impala (Ruth Edge, GBR) 36.1
3. Shaabrak (Lucy Wiegersma, GBR) 37.4
4. If You Want II (Matthew Wright, GBR) 38
5. Nullabor (Clayton Fredericks, AUS) 38.1
6. FRH Little Lemon (Andreas Dibowski, GER) 38.7
Keep up to date with twice daily reports from Badminton on www.horseandhound.co.uk and don’t forget to buy H&H next Thursday (8 May) for a 16 page report, with comments from Carl Hester, Ginny Elliot and William Fox-Pitt.