Burnham outing for GB Olympic hopes

The sun shone brightly for the first day of the SPC Holdings Burnham Market International Horse Trials, held at Sussex Farm.

The event was as busy as ever, with over 300 competitors for the first day of competition.

Over 120 riders competed in the BE100 class, with Norfolk riders doing well. Gill Mason, of Sporle, came second in Section F riding her daughter Katherine's horse, Greenvale Legacy (31.4 penalty marks).

'I dusted off the cobwebs and came out of retirement to ride at Burnham Market today,' she said. 'Alec Lochore has created a lovely course with nothing trappy or nasty. I really enjoyed it.'

Casey Parker came equal seventh in Section F on Wattasteele II (38.5), and Sharon Hunt was third in Section I on Quidams Rubin II (28.4).

Top places in the BE100 Sections E and G went to Tanya Kyle (26.5) and Mark Kyle (29.5) riding Paddys Two for Joy and Hannibal Von Kastanjenhof respectively. The first phase of some of the international classes saw some tough competition from overseas competitors including Althea Bleekman from the Netherlands, Australia's Bill Levett, Brazil's Renan Guerreriro and Julian Stiller from the United States.

The British riders, including potential members of the GB Olympic team, were also out in force.

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Shaking off a recent illness, Norfolk's Piggy French put two of her horses through their paces in the CIC*** Dressage competition Section C – Jakata (40.7) and Livingstone II (47), coming third and fifth respectively in Section C. Piggy is also lying fourth in CIC*** Section D with a score of 48.5 on DHI Topper W.

Lying first and second places in Section C are Clayton Fredericks (AUS) with 34.6 on Bendigo II and Ruth Edge (GBR) on Two Thyme with a score of 37.5.

In the CIC** Dressage competition Section D, Zara Phillips is 14th on Silver Lining V with a score of 60.0.

Alec Lochore, Event Director and Eventing Manager for London 2012, said of the first day's competition: 'Having been conspicuous by my absence over the last four days, I was delighted to come back to Norfolk to find such a dramatic improvement in the conditions.

'The rain has certainly come at the right time to produce excellent going for the field of world class horses we have seen here.

'This is a crucial stage in the season to have good going, as there is a long way to go before the Olympic Games and we do not want to be jarring horses at this time.'

He continued: 'I was glad that all the horses coming from the continent have made it to Burnham Market this weekend.

'The choppy waters could have prevented the ferries from sailing, so we are lucky to see so many international competitors here.

'They join a large and significant field of resident international riders with multiple Olympians and World Champions here on site.'

The event continues at Sussex Farm, about a mile west of Burnham Market village in north Norfolk, today and tomorrow.

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