Trials off to a flying start

Kathryn CrossA splash of rain overnight helped the Subaru Houghton International Horse Trials get off to a flying start yesterday. The spell of dry weather over recent weeks had been causing a few headaches for organisers of the event at the stately home, near Fakenham, who were worried that the ground would be very hard for the horses.Kathryn Cross

A splash of rain overnight helped the Subaru Houghton International Horse Trials get off to a flying start yesterday.

The spell of dry weather over recent weeks had been causing a few headaches for organisers of the event at the stately home, near Fakenham, who were worried that the ground would be very hard for the horses.

But event director and course designer Alec Lochore said the rain had "dampened down the dust" and helped the conditions underfoot and hoof.

"The weather played into our hands for once," he said. "We have been fighting against it a bit but everyone seems happy now and with the work we are doing with ground machines it is looking good.


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"The atmosphere has been great with lots of horses about and a good gate. All the riders we were expecting turned up so it is all good and we are looking forward to the next three days."

Some of the top names in equestrianism were taking part in dressage yesterday including British champions Kristina Cook and Pippa Funnell as well as two times Olympic champion Mark Todd and Norfolk's Kelly Aldous.

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The leaders in the four sections that got under way yesterday were, CCI 1*,SectionA: Natalie McGoldrick and Promise Me III, 43.1 points; CCI 1*,Section B: Angus Smales and Dhi Winchester and Tom How and Wicarlos, 42.1 points; CCI 2*, SectionC: Andrew Hoy and Rutherglen, 42.5 points; CCI 2* Section D: Bettina Hoy and Lanfranco TSF, 39.7 points.

Lochore said they were hoping for a good crowd today for the start of the cross-country rounds but apart from the riding there were plenty of other attractions, including 60 supercars being driven to the event by The Hoste Arms Supercar Club.

Ferraris, Bentleys, Aston Martins and Porsches are just some of the cars expected to turn up. At 5pm today there will be a cricket match on Houghton's private cricket ground where the horse owners and riders take on a team made up from the sponsors.

The gates are open from 8.30am to 6.30pm each day.

Tickets cost �5 for adults today and �3 for children aged four to 14, tomorrow they cost �8 and �5 and on Sunday �7 and �4.

For more details visit www.houghtoninternational.co.uk

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