King all set for fifth games

MARY KING has experienced the true ups and downs of a life with horses this week.

MARY KING has experienced the true ups and downs of a life with horses this week. Thrilled with the confirmation of her selection for the GB team - Call Again Cavalier was excused Badminton to save him for the August games - and the selection of up-and-coming Imperial Cavalier, Mary was nonetheless ruing the missed chance of pocketing the £60,000 Badminton first prize. Imperial Cavalier looked, and felt for Mary, the real deal at Badminton. He is still relatively inexperienced at 10 years old, having contested his first four star event only last year, but impressed his rider as well as the selectors at the prestigious event."I was really chuffed to bits with him. Badminton was back to its best. Fantastic fences and a time which was difficult to get which took the emphasis away from the dressage. Imperial Cavalier was amazing. He is a very laid back horse and still naive, but he coped with it all very willingly. "He was a bit tired going up the staircase fence but was still going forwards. At the offset logs I made the mistake of pushing him on between the fences, and I was already leaning to turn in the air when he caught his knee, screwed and I fell off so easily. It was a bit like a dream. I couldn't believe it was happening to me.One minute I had thought I would win and the next I was on the floor! The £60,000 just slipped away." Far from putting the selectors off, chairman Lucinda Green told Mary that she thought the fall would 'sharpen you up for the autumn'!Imperial Cavalier was one of only three horses to jump clear within the time limit the following day. Mary added: "The selectors are very relaxed about my choice of horse. They are probably leading towards the younger one, and I am probably leading towards Cavvy due to his reliable showjumping." At the last Olympics hardly any competitors jumped a double clear in the showjumping phase.The athletes and team staff, under the direction of Yogi Breisner, will now focus on preparing the horses to peak on August 9, when the Eventing competition starts in Hong Kong. The support of UK Sport lottery funding and the BOA will make this detailed preparation possible. With the limelight falling on the Cavaliers, Mary was particularly delighted with her other Badminton ride Apache Sauce who finished 11th. "He is an improving horse and really got stuck in. I was very pleased for his owner Jill Jonas who lives in Tedburn. She was very worried about him taking his place at Badminton but I knew he had earned the chance to compete there."Mary is currently competing on homebred mare's King's Fancy and King's Gem at Saumur in the heart of the Loire Valley.She heads the 11 Great Britain, combinations and is a previous winner of the event back in 1997, with King Solomon III. King's Fancy, who was 12th at Boekelo last year and King's Gem, who was 16th at Blenheim are full sisters both by the stallion Rock King.Both Mary and Pippa are supported by the UK Sport and The World Class Performance Programme. King's Fancy had completed her dressage test with 51 penalties on Thursday and King's Gem is due off at 4.20pm today, Friday. "Both mares are quite tense on the flat and don't find dressage the easiest phase," Mary added, saying that 51pts was the best she could have hoped for on 'Nancy'. The cross country - due to take place on Saturday - is a testing course with plenty of angles and turns making it easy for the horses to glance off a fence and earn run out penalties.

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