EQUESTRIANISM: Funnell so fluent in dressage

PIPPA FUNNELL and Supreme Rock held the lead when yesterday's first day of dressage was completed at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, having produced a beautifully fluent and accurate test to finish on 64 penalties. Under the previous formula, this would have meant a score in the upper thirties.

Funnell holds a five-point advantage over Ian Stark, who was first into the arena on the New Zealand-bred Jaybee. Heidi Antikatzides, the first Greek competitor here, rode Michaelmas to share third place with Kerry Millikin, of the United States, on Out and About.

The new method of marking, introduced in order to simplify the scoring, has so far had the effect of confusing everyone. It means higher penalties - and therefore greater differentials - in the dressage, but it will also makes the cross-country more influential as long as few horses finish within the optimum time of 12 minutes.

Hugh Thomas, the director and course designer here, was responsible for drawing up the new international rules. He believes that the present formula corresponds more closely to the ratio that was originally intended: three for the dressage, 12 for the cross-country and one for the show jumping.

Cross-country time penalties will now be incurred at one per second over the time, instead of the previous 0.4 per second. With this in mind, Andrew Nicholson, of New Zealand, - now eighth on Merillion - gave a stinging criticism of tomorrow's course.

"I think Hugh Thomas ought to give up course designing," he said. "He's gone from too many straight lines to all twists and turns; he obviously intends to make his new scoring system work no matter what."

"Not so," said Thomas. "It's true that I've tried to ensure that fewer horses finish inside the time, but that has nothing to do with the scoring system. How else do you test them when they keep getting better and better?"

The riders are naturally well aware that the time will be difficult to achieve. "Hugh has roped the course very cleverly to slow us down, we'll have to ride with our heads," Funnell said. Stark reckoned that the twisty course, with some big fences coming off turns, would require "a cross between a gymkhana pony and a show jumper."

There was an unhappy start for two of the favourites - Blyth Tait, the New Zealand world and Olympic champion, and Germany's Bettina Overesch, who holds the European title, are now back in equal 20th.

Tait had a difficult ride on Ready Teddy, who had been unsettled by the clapping that accompanied his arrival in the arena ("he was going beautifully outside but you don't get judged there").

Overesch's mount, who had the best dressage score at last year's World Games, succumbed to his old head-shaking problems and was far from his brilliant best.

Polly Phillipps, now seventh and third best of the British on Coral Cove, felt that her horse was capable of a much better test. "He felt like a time bomb, I had to be very polite to him and keep praying that he wouldn't explode."

Phillipps will receive judgement next week on the eight- hour hearing with the International Equestrian Federation's Judicial Committee which followed Coral Cove's positive test to Salicylic Acid at a level above the permitted threshold at last year's World Games.

"The horse has been so difficult over the last couple of days that I've had plenty to worry about without thinking of that," Phillipps said.

MITSUBISHI MOTORS BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS (Glos): Results after first day of dressage: 1 Supreme Rock (P Funnell, GB), 64 penalties; 2 Jaybee (I Stark, GB), 69; 3 Michaelmas (H Antikatzides, Gre) and Out and About (K Millikin, US), 70; 5 Rimini Park Fabian (E Stibbe, Aho), 77; 6 Word for Word (M Todd, NZ), 79; 7 Coral Cove (P Phillipps, GB), 80; 8 Merillion (A Nicholson, NZ), 82; 9 Eurodollar (C Lomax, GB), 84; 10 Westlord (P Clark, GB), 87.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Programmer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Printer

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 HGV Driver - with CPC

£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence