Equestrianism: Dixon ready for five-star event

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Karen Dixon reckons that she has two superstars among the five horses that she will be riding in the Macallan International Horse Trials, which begin today at the Burgie Eventing Centre near Forres, in Moray.

It may take two or three years before this claim for two six-year-old horses, The Honourable Bob and Uptotrix, is endorsed by the selectors. But, if Dixon is right, the pair should prove that they are upwardly mobile by their performances in Moray.

Burgie should not be confused with the longer- established venue at Burghley in Lincolnshire, where the European Open Three-Day Event Championships will be held in September. This week, Dixon was added to the long list for Burghley with Too Smart, who finished eighth at Bramham earlier this month.

At Burgie, where she is taking advantage of the brave and bewildering array of classes, Dixon will be looking towards future championships. The two "superstars" (she declined the suggestion that she should, perhaps, add "in the making") will run in the one-star three-day event.

Another two, Mad Murdoch and Get Sharpe, go in the international two- star (the first to be run at Burgie) and six-year-old Smart Deal will be in the novice two-day.

Mark Weston's Mad Murdoch arrived in Dixon's yard six weeks ago. Formerly ridden by Katie Meacham, the 11-year-old gelding lost confidence when falling at Burghley last year. He was entered for Badminton this year, but failed to have a good run in his preparatory events and was withdrawn.

Get Sharpe, who finished fifth with Dixon at Le Lion d'Angers in France in 1994, sustained a tendon injury at Blenheim the following year and was off for the whole of 1996. Last to go in the international two-star, he should be among the leaders when the dressage phase is completed tomorrow afternoon.