Equestrianism: Friend pips Funnell in dressage to take lead

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The Independent Online

Ruth Friend, winner of the British Open Championship in August with Two Thyme, rode the same horse to overtake Pippa Funnell and hold the lead following the dressage phase of the Blenheim International Horse Trials, writes Genevieve Murphy.

Ruth Friend, winner of the British Open Championship in August with Two Thyme, rode the same horse to overtake Pippa Funnell and hold the lead following the dressage phase of the Blenheim International Horse Trials, writes Genevieve Murphy.

Friend will try to retain her position in today's cross-country, where the previously firm going has been greatly improved by yesterday's rain. "It's a lovely course, nicely built and presented," Friend said of Mike Etherington-Smith's 27 fences.

The Cumbrian rider will be under pressure from Funnell, Germany's Simone Dietermann and the Frenchman, Didier Willefert. Another German rider, Ingrid Klimke, is fifth on Robinson's Concord, whose excellent test was marred by a mistake in the halt and rein-back.

Britain's Olympic champion, Leslie Law, had hoped Rodney Day's Fox on the Run had been cured of his tendency to tense up in the dressage, but it was not to be and he finished 51st with 63.2 penalties.

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