Polly Williamson riding Wicked Time took maximum advantage of an excellent dressage score to head the field at the Windsor International Horse Trials after yesterday's cross-country phase.
The partnership finished on 42.8 points without either jumping or time penalties, but faces pressure in today's show-jumping finale. Cressida Clague and Reading with James, also faultless, are less than a single error behind the leader on 46.6. Close behind come Frenchman Franck Bourny, a previous winner here, on Belmont on the Road (48.2), and recent Badminton victor William Fox Pitt, riding Birthday Night (49).
Williamson, 35, who hadsuccess as Polly Lyon in her younger days, is seeking her best result to date. She needed some luck yesterday, when her first ride Applemoss came down on his knees and almost fell at the second water obstacle. They survived, but as three previous competitors had fallen here, the problem caused by shadows, the fence was taken out by the ground jury, and the 65 penalties incurred by the fallers removed. Terry Boon, the dressage leader with Drivetime, then lost his chance, falling as he came out of the water.
Williamson's trainers Dot Willis and Angela Tucker were adamant their horse had a future. And,with a leading chance in this highly competitive three day event, he is proving them right.