Funnell in title defence

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Pippa Funnell will be aiming to repeat last year's victory when she rides Marshlands Rubio and Rainbow Magic at the Windsor Horse Trials, which begin today in Windsor Great Park, writes Genevieve Murphy.

Funnell, who had been suffering from shingles earlier this month, rode these two seven-year-olds to finish first and third at Tidworth last week. Marshlands Rubio, who also won at Dynes Hall this year, looks to have exceptional promise. He is by Dutch Gold, with whom Jennie Loriston-Clarke was a regular member of Britain's dressage team, and, as befits his breeding, Rubio's dressage marks are normally excellent.

Kristina Gifford, who is on the Olympic shortlist, will also be riding two seven-year-olds: O'Leary and Mr Macauley. Windsor will be their first three-day event, but they have shown good form on the one-day circuit - especially at Dynes Hall, where they finished first and third in an intermediate section.

The going is reported to be good, thanks to helpful watering by one of the new joint sponsors, Martin Collins Enterprises. Collins' firm joins Nordic Holdings and Exton Stud to support the event now that Brittany Ferries are no longer involved.