EQUESTRIANISM: Tait ponders withdrawal

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The Independent Online
BLYTH TAIT, who was strongly fancied to win the Pedigree Chum Burghley Horse Trials on Chesterfield, may pull the horse out after disappointing dressage marks here yesterday.

The New Zealander was particularly unhappy with the marks awarded by one of the three judges, who gave Chesterfield 27 points less than the other judges. The discrepancy will be reviewed under a new system introduced this year by the FEI Three-Day Event Committee, but marks cannot be altered so that is of little help to Tait.

"I came here to have a crack, not just to get round," Tait said. "If Chesterfield is not in the top 15 at the end of the dressage, I may withdraw rather than risk him over such a big and testing course."

It may not come to that. The 12-year-old gelding was lying fifth after yesterday's first day of dressage and the 31 horses due into the dressage arena today (among them Tait's second mount, Aspyring) seem unlikely to push Chesterfield out of the top 15.

Paddy Muir and Archie Brown, her home-bred 14-year-old who, as the result of a new training regime, is now comfortable with four-star courses, held the lead yesterday evening with Pippa Funnell close behind on Supreme Rock.

Kristina Gifford's General Jock has become the latest in a string of top British horses to drop out of the World Equestrian Games. The 13-year- old had an operation for colic yesterday and will be replaced by Nigel Taylor on The Frenchman II.