Equestrianism: Crucial test for Todd

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Mark Todd and Kayem, who won an advanced class at Dauntsey Park on Sunday, face a sterner test when they compete in the Calor Gas British Horse Trials Championships at Gatcombe Park this weekend. The grey gelding is now Todd's likely mount for next month's European Open Championships at Pratoni del Vivaro in Italy.

Todd has lost the ride on Bertie Blunt, and his other top mount, Just an Ace, is sidelined through injury. Kayem's performance will therefore be crucial for the New Zealander, who also has two last-minute rides on Lizzie Purbrick's big chestnut, Ethelred the Unready, and the stallion of Brook Staples, Dwilliam Courage. All three horses compete in the British Open Championship, which Todd won in 1988 and 1989.

Mary King (nee Thomson), who was the victor in 1990 and 1991, also has three horses in Sunday's principal contest of the meeting. She rides King Kong, King William and Star Appeal, who are all included on the British short list for the European Open.

"I would like to ride William and Star Appeal at Burghley and take King Kong to the Europeans, but I'm keeping my options open," King said. "That idea might have changed after Gatcombe and the final trial at Thirlestane next week."

Karen Dixon, who has withdrawn Get Smart, relies on the dynamic Too Smart, with whom she won the British Open last year when defeating William Fox- Pitt on Chaka. The recent sparkling form from Chaka suggests that he could go one better this year.

No fewer than 14 riders from the United States are competing in the advanced sections which begin today. They include Bruce Davidson on his Badminton winner, Eagle Lion, and Dorothy Trapp on Molokai, with whom she won the individual silver medal at last year's World Games.