King to anchor GB team

WEG cross country course is true championship standard say riders

After day one of the Eventing dressage at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, it’s Germany who hold the advantage in the team and individual standings. The team are on 83.8 after two riders with Australia second on 91.0 and the Swedish just fractionally behind on 91.7. Britain lie fourth with 93.2. William Fox-Pitt is flying the flag in the individual standings in third after a composed test on the relatively inexperienced 10-year-old Cool Mountain, owned by the Honourable Teresa Stopford Sackville, for 42.0. Our leader is German individual rider Simone Deitermann with Free Easy NRW on 36.0 with German team member Ingrid Klimke in second on 41.3.

Nicola Wilson was the very first rider to go this morning with Rosemary Search’s Opposition Buzz and while the crowds were sparse, there was still an atmosphere in the large main stadium. They got the team off to a solid start with a mark of 51.2 which leaves her in 18th position after 40 starters today.

After her test, Nicola said; “I’m disappointed with the mark. It was hard going first but someone has got to do it and today it was me. You just have to go in, be calm and keep your blinkers on. Opposition Buzz was lovely and very rideable and we haven’t disgraced ourselves. He’s not really built for dressage but is a true trier. I’m looking forward to supporting the others now and to doing our job on Saturday.”

Our second team rider was William Fox-Pitt with this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event champion Cool Mountain. William commented; “Cool Mountain has definitely improved since his trip here in the spring and this score will be a personal best for him. He’s ready for the challenge but this is a truly different challenge than the one he faced here in April. I have to say it never entered my head that I’d be back here this autumn! It was a superb test - he’s only 10 and this is his first Championship. He takes everything in his stride and is very dependable. The cross country course is fair but demanding and is similar to many Mike Etherington-Smith courses, there isn’t one fence you’d look at and think it’s unjumpable. The fences are solid and imposing from the start but it’s a Championship test.”

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The first of our individual riders, Pippa Funnell, back in the British squad after a five year gap and riding Roger and Denise Lincoln’s Redesigned, was the final rider of the day and the nine year old Bramham winner coped exceptionally well with the experience but his rider had different feelings;

“I’m gutted. I set my expectations quite high and was hoping for something excellent. When you take into account Redesigned has never been in an arena like that he coped really well with the atmosphere. I had to aim for balance and this is not a disaster but he’s been training really well. It’s really great to be here and back with my old team mates,” said Pippa. Their score was 45.5 which puts them eighth overall.

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Riders continue Friday at 09.00 and Piggy French, our second individual with Jakata is on at 08.50 with our third team combination, Kristina Cook and Miners Frolic in at 09.22 and anchor woman Mary King with Imperial Cavalier at 14.22 (all times given are local time).

AT the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, all six of the British eventing horse and rider combinations are safely through the first horse inspection under the watchful eye of the Ground Jury of Marilyn Payne (USA), Anne-Mette Binder (DEN) and David Lee (IRL).

Mary King has been named as the fourth rider, and anchor, of the team which includes Nicola Wilson on Opposition Buzz, William Fox-Pitt on Cool Mountain and Kristina Cook on Miner’s Frolic.

The two individuals will be Pippa Funnell riding Redesigned and Piggy French riding Jakata.

The riders have all had a preliminary walk around Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country course and first reports are that it’s big and there are plenty of places to have a problem.

The British team has been drawn as first to go.

Dressage got under way on Thursday, 2pm GB time (Kentucky is five hours behind) in the main stadium. Live results streaming is available from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games website.

Mary’s dressage test is at 19.18 British time on Friday, October 1.

?While her mum Mary is busy riding for the GB team in Kentucky, Emily King, 14, is busy cleaning up at events in the UK.

She finished first and second at Bricky Horse Trials in the Junior Open Novice on Mr Hi Ho and Lenamore Famous Freddie.

Her grandmother Jill said: “There were several others with better dressage scores, but they all went on to have penalties cross country or showjumping and Emily’s two double clears pulled her up.”

Mr Hi Ho is owned by Patsy Mason and sponsored by Hi Ho Silver jewellers. Lenamore Famous Freddie is sponsored by Everys.

Emily was recently second and fifth on the same horses in an ordinary novice class at Monmouth HT.

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