Equestrianism: Tough defence for Nolan

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The Independent Online
PIPPA NOLAN faces tough opposition from Mary Thomson when she defends her national title at the Calor Gas British Horse Trials Championships, which begin today at Gatcombe Park, writes Genevieve Murphy.

Nolan will be without last year's winning horse, 16-year-old Sir Barnaby, who has now retired. 'He was second twice and won last year. It would have been heart-breaking if he'd gone badly after such a good record,' she said. Instead, she rides Cartoon II and Heron's Flight.

Thomson, the winner in 1990 and 1991, partners King William and King Boris. She will be well motivated in her attempt to win the British Open Championship (and the national title which goes to the leading Briton) having been omitted from the long- list for next month's European Championships after William's six mistakes in the show jumping at Badminton.

Thomson had a splendid morale booster last month at Althorp where William (this time clear in the show jumping) won the hotly-competitive Maverick Championship at Althorp, with Boris third.