US leader after Burghley's first dressage day

September 4, 2009

Phillip Dutton and Truluck lead the dressage so far at Burghley.

Kitty Boggis and Boondoggle.
© Jan Milne

US rider Phillip Dutton and Truluck are in the lead at the end of the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

The Australian born rider and Olympic gold medallist who became an American Citizen in 2006 and his American-bred Thoroughbred scored 45.3. "Being in the lead is a bit of shock as it's not usually where we are," said Dutton, who acquired Truluck from a student of his four years ago.

"He has been a bit of a hard-luck story as he is a bit injury prone and therefore taken time but he is a quality horse."

Truluck was 10th at Rolex Kentucky, his first four-star event.

"He is still green and the test is quite hard for him and he can light up in an atmosphere therefore I purposefully contained him during the trot and prayed during the walk. But he is usually a good cross-country horse and I am hoping that he is more than up to the challenge. The course is a genuine four-star course."

Leicestershire based British rider John-Paul Sheffield is just 1.2 penalties behind with Chris and Janet Badgers Crown Farm Consort - an 11-year-old by the Thoroughbred Long Leave. "He is a fairly experienced horse and the blustery conditions didn't really affect him. He's been round the course here two years ago and fairly reliable so I am hoping he will go well," said John-Paul (JP).

Lunchtime leaders Kai Ruder and Leprince des Bois finished the day in third place just 0.2 penalties behind Sheffield.

LePrince Des Bois is a 10-year-old, and the only stallion in the field this year. Despite being a Selle Francais he has British connections, being a son of John and the late Debbie Johnston's British-bred stallion Yarlands Summer Song, who is a son of the well-known British eventing sire Fleetwater Opposition. He is also related to Harry Meade's ride Midnight Dazzler as both Summer Song and Midnight Dazzler's sire Catherston Dazzler share the same dam - Welton Gazelle by Sam Barr's foundation stallion Welton Gameful.

Former Kiwi horse Boondoggle and Kitty Boggis are in equal fourth place with Australia's Sam Griffiths on Happy Times.

US rider Karen O'Connor and Mandiba are sixth, with compatriot Becky Holder and Courageous Comet in ninth.

British-based Australian Paul Tapner and the feisty Thoroughbred Inonothing are in seventh place with 51.5, marginally ahead of compatriot Clayton Fredericks and Poilu on 51.7, a mark that pleased Fredericks as the 11-year-old Thoroughbred is contesting his first four-star event.

"Dressage is not always his strong point but he tried his hardest especially in the conditions which are not easy for a sensitive thoroughbred - the flowers are constantly wobbling and there are lots of flapping noises which aren't helping," he said.

Of the New Zealanders to go through on the first day, Dan Jocelyn and Special Attorney are 20th on 60.8; Andrew Nicholson and Armada are 30th on 67.5; and Annabel Wigley and Black Drum are 32nd on 69.8.

British Olympic rider Daisy Dick and her Barbury CIC three-star winner Spring Along are first into the arena on Friday morning at 9.30am.