Equestrianism: Algotsson strong in World Cup defence

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The Independent Online

Linda Algotsson held the advantage after yesterday's dressage phase of the Eventing World Cup Final on a hot, sunny day here. Having won the inaugural final here last year on Stand By Me, the Swedish rider had planned to attempt a repeat performance on the same horse, until he slipped and hurt himself in his field a week ago. She therefore switched to another of the horses bred by her mother, Stand By Me's half-sister, My Fair Lady.

Linda Algotsson held the advantage after yesterday's dressage phase of the Eventing World Cup Final on a hot, sunny day here. Having won the inaugural final here last year on Stand By Me, the Swedish rider had planned to attempt a repeat performance on the same horse, until he slipped and hurt himself in his field a week ago. She therefore switched to another of the horses bred by her mother, Stand By Me's half-sister, My Fair Lady.

The 12-year-old mare, who stands more than 17 hands high, was originally broken in by Linda's sister, Sara Algotsson, but she found her too big and uncoordinated. "She had legs everywhere when she was younger, she was like a big spider," Linda said. My Fair Lady had been "a bit hot" two weeks earlier during the dressage at Boekelo in the Netherlands where she finished 11th.

But the mare was more relaxed yesterday, producing a lovely elegant test to take the lead from Germany's Kai Rüder on Kyneally Bay and the French world champion, Jean Teulere, on Bambi de Briere.

Pippa Funnell, lying eighth and best of the four British riders here, was disappointed with the lacklustre feel her winning Blenheim mount, Viceroy II, gave her. When she left the arena she was by no means certain that she would be riding the stallion in today's cross-country. If she does withdraw, the leading Briton will be Leslie Law, who received his Olympic gold medal from the Princess Royal on Monday, immediately before travelling here with a new mount, Coup de Coeur.

This is Law's first competition on the 10-year-old, who is in 14th place. He has been on cross-country schooling sessions, but says that the horse has not yet seen anything as big as the daunting fourth fence here.

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