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Fox-Pitt retains lead at Bramham

Although no one succeeded in pushing William Fox-Pitt off the top spot at the end of dressage at the Guardian Collections Bramham International Horse Trials, his lead on Moon Man (right) was dramatically reduced to just a fraction of a penalty.

Terry Boon and Lucy Wiegersma agreed in the warm-up area before they rode their tests that one of them “had to beat William”, and although they didn’t quite manage it, 30-year-old Terry Boon came very close. Riding Foreign Exchange, a 10-year-old chestnut gelding, Terry produced a rhythmical, balanced test for a mark of 41.6.

“I’m thrilled,” said Terry. “I’ve had him since he was a four-year-old, and you work and work and finally it comes right.”

He did express some concern about the state of the going on the cross-country, and said he would only run Foreign Exchange if it improved overnight. Course designer Sue Benson and her team are making a great deal of effort with the track, putting sand on take offs and landings and using an Agri-vator machine to aerate the firm ground, but it has not rained significantly at Bramham for five weeks.

Devon-based Lucy Wiegersma is lying in third place overnight on Sue Lanz’s Friday Feeling, a daughter of the great eventing mare Friday Fox, with a score of 45.4.

“I’m very pleased with her – it’s her first three-star,” said Lucy, who rode Friday Feeling’s sire, Matinee, as well. “It’s a good track tomorrow, and there are lots of opportunities for a silly run out, but she’s a very good jumper.”

Fourth is Marie Ryan on her own and her mother Jennie’s Sparrow Hall, while William Fox-Pitt takes fifth place at this stage on Phillip Adkins’s Parkmore Ed.

In the Elite Colleges under-25 section, Piggy French and Which Way II lead the 22-strong field on 44.2. In second is Oliver Smith (The Magic Moment) on 49.6 and third are Oliver Townend (Harlequin Bay) and Cressida Clague-Reading (Volnay) with 50.8 penalties.

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