Equestrianism: Leng thinks long-term: Jennifer Harry at Thirlestane Castle

Click to follow
The Independent Online
GINNY LENG attacks the final part of today's selection trial at Thirlestane Castle near Lauder from the front with Welton Houdini as the pair tune up for the European Championships in two and a half weeks' time.

But after riding a sparkling dressage test for a one-penalty lead over Francis Hay-Smith and Jabba The Hutt, Leng may forego the lure of victory in the Scottish Open Championship. Of paramount importance is the preparation for the major confrontation at Achselschwang in southern Germany where Leng attempts a record fourth success after a three-year absence from the team.

'You have to go to the Europeans feeling happy with yourself and you must do what you feel you should to prepare the horse,' she explained. 'But don't mistake me, I shall not be hanging about today - if you go slow, you can ride badly.'

Eventing's action man Ian Stark defied medical forecasts by riding a dressage test and a cross-country round just three and a half weeks after breaking his right leg.

The European champion, who plans to defend his title next month, took European contender Clan Royal through a relaxed test and then rode his novice Mackinnon clear round the cross country with his leg protected by double strapping, and special boots and gaiters after having the plaster removed on Monday.

Today's cross country will be the acid test: 'If it doesn't stand up to that, I shall not go to Germany,' he said. Stark has the right to take part as an extra seventh man in the British squad.

KIMBERLY CLARKE SCOTTISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS (Dressage): 1 Welton Houdini (G Leng) 29; 2 Jabba The Hutt (F Hay Smith) 30; 3 Chaka (W Fox-Pitt) 31.

Comments