King looks booked for Team GB place

MARY King has to wait until June 12 to find out if she is in the GB team for the London Olympics in July but, with two double clear performances at Houghton Hall at the weekend, her place should be a formality, writes Lee Glanville.

She said: “Both Imperial Cavalier and King’s Temptress were great. Both had good dressage tests (Imperial Cavalier was 42.4) and had clear rounds in dressage and cross country. I didn’t race them cross country but they were both impressive and I have been told that neither need to compete again before the team is announced.”

King’s Temptress was also part of the winning GB Nation’s Cup competition team which ran at the same time. King added: “We all had our fingers crossed as we stood on the podium that we could repeat that in Greenwich Park!”

Also at Houghton Hall, King’s six-year-old Cavalier Venture was fourth out of 104 starters in his first one star event, being one of the youngest horses at that level, and she was also delighted with MHS King Joules, who performed well at his first two star event, putting in a double clear and a good dressage. Daughter Emily, 16, had her first ride in a two star event on Mr Hi Ho and lay fifth after dressage, having had to get special permission due to her youth, to take part.

She had a very good cross country round, marred only by a run out at a corner double late in the course - a mistake King put down to inexperience - and had one pole down in the showjumping.

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“She is disappointed but actually it was a very good run over big fences and it was a big test for her,” King added.

The only sad news from the weekend was the decision to retire Apache Sauce from top level competition after an uncharacteristic stop at a downhill fence. Jill Jonas’s 16-year-old horse has been ultra sound and consistent all his life and, as King had felt he had been feeling just a bit cautious downhill this season, it was decided to retire him.

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Emily will ride him at home and, if the pair click, may compete him this season at an intermediate two star level for the rest of the year.

“He was supposed to go to Luhmuhlen later this year. He has been such a star. He is a bit quirky and he and Emily may not get on but he has been a consistent performer at top level,” King said.

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