Saturday 1 May 2010

Kai Rüder storms into the lead

Rather rashly, we predicted that there might not be much change at the top of the leaderboard during this morning’s dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. How wrong could we be?

Germany’s Kai Rüder and Le Prince Des Bois stormed into the lead with a score of 33.8.

Kai said: “I could feel that he was going well in the warm up; once I got into the arena I just had to sit there and let it happen.”

The pair finished 10th at Burghley last year, but this is their first visit to Badminton.

Francis Whittington has made a miraculous recovery from a meningitis scare at the beginning of April which rendered him hospital-bound until the 16th of this month. His test on Sir Percival III was good enough to go into third place on 42.8.

“I have my sister, Bryony, and my support team at home to thank for keeping Percy fit,” said Francis, who will need to have his wits about him tomorrow to keep Percy focused on the job.

“I’ll need to concentrate from fence 1 to fence 31 as you never quite know what surprise he’s going to throw at you,” said Francis, in reference to the gelding’s faux pas at Burghley last year when Percy jammed on the anchors at a relatively innocuous fence.

There were smiles all round when Piggy French managed to contain an exuberant Some Day Soon to post a score of 44.7, which puts her currently in equal seventh with Mary King and Imperial Cavalier.

“We have been working him since 5am this morning,” said Piggy.

Among those congratulating Piggy was Oliver Townend, who looks to have made a good recovery from his horrific fall at last week’s Rolex Kentucky three-day event, which left him with a broken shoulder, collarbone and two cracked ribs.

“Obviously I would have preferred to be riding here, but I’ve got a 21-day ban and I’m in no rush to get back in the saddle,” he said. “I’ve got two good boys at home – Waylon Roberts and Steven Smith – who will do a very good job keeping the horses fit.”

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on current European Champion Tina Cook and Miners Frolic when they perform their test at 2pm.

Listen to the Audio Interview with Kai.

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