French supreme in Bramham dressage

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reports from Bramham Park

Didier Willefert, a 30-year-old French army officer, held the lead on Seducteur Biolay at the end of the dressage phase of the Toyota Bramham Three-Day Event. A splendid dressage test at the start of his first visit to England has left the Frenchman three points ahead of William Fox-Pitt on Cosmopolitan II.

Fox-Pitt (a disappointing 29th with his first mount, Loch Alan) was delighted with Cosmopolitan's marks. He only began riding the eight-year-old in February and has already been well placed in three of his four advanced one-day events. Today's cross-country will be the horse's biggest test so far.

Paddy Muir, lying third on Archie Brown, is all too aware that her record at Bramham is full of misfortune. "I've ridden here five times and I've had five falls," she said. If her attractive grey gelding, Archie Brown, jumps clear today it will be a victory of hope over experience.

Two New Zealanders - Andrew Nicholson on Cartoon II and Victoria Latta on Broadcast News - occupy fourth and fifth places. They are just ahead of three Britons who are equal sixth, among them Ian Stark riding the promising eight-year-old Forest Glen.

TOYOTA BRAMHAM THREE-DAY EVENT (Bramham Park): Standings after dressage: 1 Seducteur Biolay (D Willefert, Fr) 39.4 penalties; 2 Cosmopolitan II (W Fox-Pitt, GB) 42.4; 3 Archie Brown (P Muir, GB) 47.2 penalties; 4 Cartoon II (A Nicholson, NZ) 49.2; 5 Broadcast News (V Latta, NZ) 50.2; 6 Headley Bravo (D Dick, GB), Forest Glen (I Stark, GB), The Calculator (T Boon, GB) 50.4. Yorkshire Post British Young Riders National Championship: 1 Sydney James (N Lynn) 48.4; 2 White Lights (S Cutteridge) 50.4; 3 Time Watch (L Jennings) 50.8.