Bullen earns official approval

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Sarah Bullen held the lead after yesterday's first day of dressage in the international two- star section of the Macallan International Horse Trials here in Moray. Her test on the seven- year-old stallion Rock King was so good that the ground jury sent a message to congratulate her on her superb dressage.

Bullen would have ridden the stallion at Windsor, but she is the organiser of that event and knew it would be impossible to ride there as well. So she has made the long journey to ride her horse at this northernmost three- day event in Britain.

Bullen overtook Darrell Scaife, who had held the lead on the grey mare Faerie Dazzler. "The last time I was in the lead here after the dressage, I fell at the last cross-country fence so I don't know that it bodes well," said Scaife before he was overtaken.

Scaife rode the seven-year-old at Windsor in May, but she struck into herself on the cross- country and had to be pulled up. "She is still quite green, so we thought we'd give her a jolly in Scotland," Scaife said.

Chris Bartle, the long-time leader, is now equal third on Oscar - who will, he reckons, face a tough test in tomorrow's cross-country. Yesterday's scudding clouds brought some heavy showers and some stretches of ground (particularly the pudding-like uphill climb after fence five) will make it a test of stamina as well as jumping.

Terry Boon, who is leading in the national two-star section on Into Overdrive, is equally well aware that the course will be a serious test of fitness. His 10-year-old mount, who show jumped for 10 years before turning to eventing this spring, has a wonderful record so far having won his first six events in his new discipline.

"He has enough scope for jumping the fences," Boon said. "He also has a big stride and is able to get into a rhythm and keep it." These should prove useful attributes tomorrow.

Results, Digest, page 29