Equestrianism: Dick excels to take early lead on Bravo

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DAISY DICK held the lead at the end of yesterday's first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials but her father, Dave, who won the Grand National in 1956, did not see his 26-year-old daughter's excellent test on Headley Bravo.

"My father didn't come for the dressage; he'd rather watch paint dry," Dick said. "It's probably just as well he hasn't had a chance to see the fences. He'd rather go round Aintree backwards than jump here."

Dick, who finished seventh last year on the same horse, is 0.8 points ahead of another Briton, 18-year-old Ruth Friend from Cumbria. She is the youngest of the 80 competitors but had a relaxed and fluent test on her 10-year-old mount Ice Dancer II on her first visit to the Duke of Beaufort's estate.

Terry Boon, also from Britain, is third on Marsh Warbler, fractionally ahead of Karen Reuter from the United States on Nightlife IV. Next comes Ireland's 1995 European champion, Lucy Thompson, on Welton Romance, with the 1996 Olympic victor, Blyth Tait, close behind in equal sixth on Aspyring.

Tait will be on his winning Olympic mount, Ready Teddy, when he reappears in the dressage arena this afternoon, not long after his New Zealand compatriot, Mark Todd, who rides Broadcast News with whom he won the European Open title last year.

Despite all the rain which fell in April, event director, Hugh Thomas, says the going on the formidable 32-fence cross-country course is "as good as it has ever been".