EQUESTRIANISM: Tait shows his true pedigree

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The Independent Online
BLYTH TAIT could forget all about disappointing dressage marks yesterday when he rode Chesterfield and Aspyring into first and second places on the final day of the Burghley Pedigree Chum Horse Trials and collected pounds 26,000. A fellow New Zealander, Mark Todd, who filled the top two places here in 1987, is the only other rider to achieve this result in the contest's 37 years.

Tait, who had considered withdrawing Chesterfield after the dressage, took the horse from equal 12th to first on Saturday after a splendid round over the soggy cross-country course. Yesterday he jumped one of only four clear show-jumping rounds to win by a commanding margin.

This was the first Burghley victory for the great New Zealand horseman, who currently holds the Olympic, British and Scottish championships and will be aiming to regain the world title in Italy next month.

Two other Kiwis - Andrew Nicholson on Hinnegar and Daniel Jocelyn on Silence - underlined their nation's strength by filling third and fifth places. Jancis Tulloch, the best of the British, was fourth on Bally Free.

"I came here dreaming of finishing in the top 10," Tulloch said. She had the fastest cross- country time on Saturday and felt that Bally Free was feeling the effects of his exertions when he had three show jumps down and dropped one place yesterday. But the dream was more than fulfilled.

Katie Parker finished sixth on Cornish Envoy who, like Bally Free, had been short-listed for the World Games in Rome.

BURGHLEY PEDIGREE CHUM HORSE TRIALS (Stamford, Lincs) Final positions: 1 Chesterfield (B Tait, NZ) 67.8 penalties; 2 Aspyring (B Tait, NZ) 82.0; 3 Hinnegar (A Nicholson, NZ) 92.0; 4 Bally Free (J Tulloch, GB) 95.8; 5 Silence (D Jocelyn, NZ) 101.6; 6 Cornish Envoy (K Parker, GB) 103.0.