In a exhilarating finale, this afternoon’s last competitors Andrew Hoy and Moon Fleet, bedazzled the judges to take the lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

After earning high scores for the extended trot and canter changes, the test culminated with each of the three dressage judges awarding Hoy a score of nine for his riding.

The leader board is led by the all-Australian Hoy and Fredericks families: Lucinda Fredericks lies exactly four penalties – one show jumping pole – behind Hoy with Bettina Hoy in third and Clayton Fredericks in fourth.

“I’ve achieved first place which is what I wanted,” said a relieved Hoy afterwards. The result sets him on track for the $250,000 Rolex Grand Slam as well as the £45,000 Burghley prize pot. He is lying in sixth place on his other horse Mr Pracatan.


Andrew Hoy and Moon Fleet image by Jan Milne

Clayton Fredericks also breathed a sigh of relief to have kept up with his wife – the overnight dressage leader. Nullabor, on whom he won the British Open Championships at Gatcombe has often taken runner-up position without landing a big win. “Winning the British Open was fantastic,” Fredericks told HHO, adding that despite being a pleasure to ride, Nullabor is not always the easiest horse to handle.

The Burghley leader board is dominated by Australian riders. As well as the Hoys and Fredericks, fellow Australians Shane Rose and Matt Ryan are lying in seventh equal and Sam Griffiths is in 18th place.

British riders have been shunted down the pecking order but young talents Ruth Edge and Lucy Wiegersma kept their cool in the arena this afternoon, riding impressive tests to clinch equal ninth place ahead of Oliver Townend in eleventh and William Fox-Pitt in 13th. With 13 riders all lying between 41.3 and 46.8 pen – just 5.5 pen separating them – Burghley 2006 is destined to be a close competition.

And all could change tomorrow – a point Andrew Hoy is keen to make clear. “We all start out on equal scores,” he said, “And if we don’t win a prize then we haven’t lost anything because we started out with nothing. If I don’t win Burghley I haven’t lost the Grand Slam because I never had it in the first place.”

Tomorrow’s cross-country phase begins at 11 am.

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