William Fox-Pitt remained at the head of affairs after the second day of dressage at Yorkshire’s Bramham Horse Trials, holding a narrow lead over Bettina Hoy in the three-star three-day event.
Riding the nine-year-old Australian-bred Mr Dumbledore, William took the lead late on Thursday afternoon on an excellent score of 37.4, and despite some valiant efforts from his rivals, goes into cross-country day in front.
“It’s a big three-star course, so we’ll have to see how my horse goes tomorrow,” said William.
Bettina Hoy produced her usual impressive test for second place and 39.1pen with Diamond Magic. The bay gelding won Boekelo CCI*** last year, and may be aimed at the European Championships in September.
In third at this stage is Welsh-based Australian Matt Ryan with Ann Pople’s Slight Of Hand, who scored 44.4. The pair comes fresh from a win at Chatsworth in May.
William Fox-Pitt’s second horse, Idalgo, lies fourth with 45.2pen, with which William declared himself very pleased. The horse came from France, where he was previously ridden by Nicholas Touzaint, with a reputation for being very difficult.
“He’s come a long way,” said William. “I’m happy with that – he was so much calmer.”
William is competing three horses here – the first rider in the event’s history to do so – and his third mount, Birthday Night, is lying in 23rd place.
The other member of Team Hoy, Bettina’s husband Andrew, is in fifth on Classy Touch with a score of 46.3, while last year’s winner Terry Boon is sixth with Drivetime.
In the under-25 section, Italian Olympic rider Susanna Bordonne is the overnight leader on her mother’s Carrerra II with 45pen. Bought from Stuart Tinney, like her championship ride Ava, last autumn, the nine-year-old mare performed a calm, controlled test.
Behind her in second place (47.4pen) is Cambridge-based young rider Phoebe Buckley with Valerie Gingell’s The Busker. The grey 14-year-old was eighth at Burghley three years ago with Jeanette Brakewell, and Phoebe took over the ride last autumn.
“He’s a bit of a show-off in the dressage,” said Phoebe. “But I’m really looking forward to tomorrow – the course should suit him. I think it’s a very strong course and very technical, but he’s a cross-country machine.”
Eventing is not the only string to Phoebe’s bow – she recently rode a winner over hurdles at Huntingdon for Newmarket trainer Don Cantillon.
Third is Brett Kenyon, riding Henbury Hallmark, on 49.6, and fourth is last year’s young rider European medallist Izzy Taylor with Flint Curtis (50pen).