Equestrianism: Dixon's smart success

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KarenDixon, riding high after her team gold and individual bronze medals in the European Championships at The Hague, followed up with an impressive all-the-way victory in the Calor Gas British open championship at Gatcombe yesterday, writes Mary Gordon Watson. This time she was riding the eight-year-old Too Smart who looks the ideal successor to her keen campaigner Get Smart. In fact the young horse so impressed the selectors at Badminton and since, that he was reserve horse in The Hague and Karen was able to keep him fit while in Holland. She was full of praise for Too Smart. 'It was a real test of fitness. He's a great little fellow, really honest and consistent with a good mind. I trust him completely,' she said. Dixon had to challenge him to stay ahead as she was hard pressed by William Fox-Pitt on the much more experienced Chaka. The target time of six minutes six seconds was not achievable over this tough course of severe gradients, twists and turns. It was Mark Todd, three times Open Champion, who came closest with 15 penalties which pulled him up from 11th to third place.

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