WAGS lead at Burghley

  • Wives continued to outshine their husbands in the dressage phase at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this afternoon, with Lucinda Fredericks storming into the lead aboard Headley Britannia. A 35.7 pen dressage score pushed fellow WAG Bettina Hoy into second place and Andrew Hoy into third. Lucinda Fredericks’ husband Clayton is currently lying 16th on his first horse W P In Limbo.

    Lucinda and “Little Brit”, as 15.3hh Headley Britannia is affectionately known, were travelling reserves for Australia’s World Equestrian Games but did not run. “When I walked the cross-country course at WEG I was desperate to see a fence that I didn’t want to jump. I brought her [Headley Britannia] home and thought ‘I’ve just got to do Burghley’,” Fredericks explained.

    Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks image (c) Jan Milne

    And their 35.7 penalty test proved they had done their homework for WEG. A striking performance scoring mainly eights and nines from the judges, culminated with a rarely- witnessed 10 for the halt and salute. The crowd clapped and cheered as an astonished Fredericks gave Headley Britannia a well-deserved pat (pictured).

    America’s Rebecca Holder produced a stunning test with Courageous Comet to take equal fourth place with Oliver Townend and Topping on a score of 45.2 pen. Early leaders William Fox-Pitt and Ballincoola are currently in fifth with Polly Stockton and Tangle Man sixth.

    Having walked the cross-country at Burghley, Fredericks admits there are certainly fences on Mark Phillips’ course she doesn’t want to jump. “It’s going to be a stretch for her [Headley Britannia],” she said, “everything is as wide as she is long. I’m just going to have to have a drink beforehand!”

    On a more serious note Fredericks ascertains the course is uphill and wide but she feels positive. “Headley Britannia is on springs, she’s an unusual jumper,” she said. The pair’s last run was at Barbury in July although they did stop off at Aston Le Walls for some water schooling on the way to Burghley.

    Despite trumping her husband Clayton, Fredericks is keen to point out that their experience at WEG brought them closer. “Clayton went through my disappointment with me. Then we put all our efforts into getting him onto the podium – which I think we did quite well.” Clayton took home individual silver and team bronze for Australia.

    Both Mrs Fredericks and Mrs Hoy assure that they do not spend as much money as footballers’ wives. But as wife of the Rolex Grand Slam contender, Bettina could be on track for a $250,000 shopping spree. When asked the burning question – “what will you do if you are placed first ahead of your husband?” she calmly replied, “I guess we will talk about it when we get there.”

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