Young British rider Emily Baldwin (pictured) has moved into second place at the end of the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Emily, 27, put in a brilliant performance with the attractive bright bay 12-year-old Drivetime, which was only marred by a slightly late penultimate flying change. They scored 39.3 to lie 1.2 penalties behind Clayton Fredericks, who retains the lead he took this morning on Nullabor.
“I can’t believe it — I just wanted to get into the 40s,” said Emily. “He tried really hard. We made a few mistakes at Pau [the French four-star where they finished 15th last autumn] which I’ve been working to iron out. Apart from that one mistake he was really consistent here.”
Two more British riders also pushed into the top rankings just behind Emily this afternoon. Rodney Powell was clearly delighted with last year’s Boekelo winner, the 10-year-old Zin Zan II, who scored 43.2 for third.
Sharon Hunt also had a good afternoon, taking fourth with Tankers Town, her partner at the 2006 World Equestrian Games.
“The changes were really good and his walk’s getting better — he can get tense,” she said. “But I’m most pleased with his attitude; he’s such a tryer and knows to behave at the big competitions.”
William Fox-Pitt (Ballincoola) and Zara Phillips (Glenbuck), second and third at lunchtime, now lie fifth and sixth.
Australian rider Matt Ryan will kick off the second day of dressage at 9.30am tomorrow, riding the chunky chestnut Bonza Puzzle, who was ninth at Pau last year.
RESULTS AT THE END OF THURSDAY
1. Nullabor (Clayton Fredericks, AUS) 38.1
2. Drivetime (Emily Baldwin, GBR) 39.3
3. Zin Zan II (Rodney Powell, GBR) 43.2
4. Tankers Town (Sharon Hunt, GBR) 43.7
5. Ballincoola (William Fox-Pitt, GBR) 44.1
6. Glenbuck (Zara Phillips, GBR) 44.8
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.