Andrew Hoy (pictured) has taken the lead at lunchtime on the second day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Andrew and the 2006 winner Moon Fleet put in a smooth performance to score 35.4 after a shaky start when the horse fidgeted in the first halt.
“I left that behind me and just moved on,” said Andrew afterwards. “The feeling he gave me was good. I had no idea what the other marks were, I’ve just been really focusing on Moon Fleet.”
This was only the black gelding’s third start since he was withdrawn from Badminton last year with a partial paralysis of the left larynx. Andrew said he had given the 17-year-old a “hand gallop” around the warm up arena to clear his wind today.
British rider Ruth Edge is just behind Andrew in second, having scored 36.1 with Muschamp Impala, another horse who has had time off. He had 2006 and much of 2007 away from eventing after a tendon injury, but during that time he went to the dressage national championships at advanced medium level.
“He was always a really hot horse when he was younger, but as he’s got older he’s got more consistent,” said Ruth. “You don’t have to go for much activity with him. I just have to stay accurate and he has plenty of engagement by himself.”
Yesterday’s leader Clayton Fredericks (Nullabor) is now third, with young British rider Emily Baldwin (Drivetime) fourth. Pippa Funnell lies fourth equal after an accurate test with Ensign.
“He’s a lovely horse in his brain to ride, and in the last month he’s just got strong enough to step up a gear,” she said of the ex-racehorse who was third in the four-star at Pau last year.
France’s reigning European champion Nicolas Touzaint was clearly delighted with last year’s Pau winner Hildago De L’Ile, letting him graze the grass in the famous arena after he’d finished his test. They are in sixth place.
RESULTS AT FRIDAY LUNCHTIME
1. Moon Fleet (Andrew Hoy, AUS) 35.4
2. Muschamp Impala (Ruth Edge, GBR) 36.1
3. Nullabor (Clayton Fredericks, AUS) 38.1
4=. Drivetime (Emily Baldwin, GBR) 39.3
4=. Ensign (Pippa Funnell, GBR) 39.3
6. Hildago De L’Ile (Nicolas Touzaint, FRA) 39.6
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.