Equestrianism: Squelch the quiet achiever

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Bruce Davidson, of the United States, held a joint lead with Britain's Mary King when the dressage phase of the Burghley Horse Trials was completed yesterday. King had been the overnight leader on Star Appeal and Davidson, who rode Squelch, equalled her excellent score.

Davidson, who won an Olympic team silver medal in Atlanta, was due to ride two horses over the cross-country course today. Yesterday, however, he withdrew Eagle Lion (his winning mount at Badminton last year) because the horse is sore in his left hindquarters.

Captain Phillips is trainer of the Olympic team as well as the course designer at Burghley, where the big drop at the Leaf Pit Log (fence three) is causing some consternation. "I wish he had to ride the third fence and show us how to do it," Davidson said, with a smile.

The schedule for nine-year-old Squelch has twice been interrupted through injury. In March 1995 he missed the Pan-American Games when he "tweaked a tendon". This year he was due to run at Badminton until Davidson broke his own shoulder and was forced to withdraw. The rider continues to regard Squelch as "a very exciting horse."

Pippa Funnell is now lying third on Bits and Pieces, followed by the Frenchman Didier Seguret on Coeur de Rocker and William Fox-Pitt on Loch Alan. Terry Boon, who was eliminated here in the dressage last year with Vital Decision, had a few problems with the talented horse yesterday but is nevertheless lying in sixth place.

In the absence of Eagle Lion, Mark Todd will be the first to tackle the cross-country this morning on Kingarrie. Todd's second mount, this year's Badminton winner, Bertie Blunt, was a little "ring rusty" in yesterday's dressage and he is now lying ninth.

Results, Digest, page 27