Australia's Andrew Hoy made the best possible start in his attempt to collect the $250,000 (£134,000) Grand Slam as well as the £45,000 first prize when he rode Moonfleet to the outstanding dressage test of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials yesterday.
Last into the arena, Hoy took a four-point advantage from the overnight leader Lucinda Fredericks, also representing Australia, on Headley Britannia.
The Hoys and the Fredericks dominate the leading places, with Andrew's German wife, Bettina Hoy, lying third on Peaceful Warrior and Lucinda's Australian husband, Clayton Fredericks, filling fourth on Nullarbor with whom he won the British Open at Gatcombe. Andrew Hoy is lying sixth on Mr Pracatan, giving the Australians six of the top eight places. Ruth Edge and Lucy Wiegersma, now lying equal ninth, are best of the British.
Hoy seems determined to stop the possibility of a big pay day preying too much on his mind. "We all came here on equal scores and we haven't won anything until it happens," he said. "I can't lose the Grand Slam because I've never won it."
This statement ignores the fact that it was his two victories - at Lexington in Kentucky and at Badminton in the spring - that opened up the Grand Slam opportunity, which could indeed be lost. Today's cross-country and tomorrow's show jumping will, of course, be crucial.
The 32 cross-country fences designed by Captain Mark Phillips are reckoned to be big, but the warm weather has made the going fast so the optimum time should be attainable.
Hoy knows, however, that little mistakes can be costly. His single run-out at the World Equestrian Games (where Clayton Fredericks was the individual silver medallist as well as a fellow member of the Australian bronze medal team) dropped him down the individual placings.
His wife, Bettina who was a gold medallist on the German team, dropped out of the individual medals as a result of show jumping mistakes.Reuse content