Funnell forges advantage

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The Independent Online

Pippa Funnell now holds the lead in the Horse and Hound Copper Horse Section of the Windsor International Horse Trials, after Burke's Boy had produced "the best dressage test he's ever done" yesterday morning.

As they go into today's cross-country, Funnell holds an eight-point advantage over Thursday's leader, the far less experienced 30-year-old Petra James on General Jackson, who is riding in only her second senior three-day event at two-star level.

William Fox-Pitt moved into third place yesterday with The Professor, a horse he is partnering for Italian rider Margarita Bruno with a view to selling him. "He's the one who could do the best of the three I'm riding here, although I know him the least," Fox-Pitt said. He is now just ahead of world champion Blyth Tait on the consistent seven-year-old Cool Time.

Everybody connected with the new leading horse, Burke's Boy, is aware that they need to keep a sharp eye on him. According to Funnell: "He doesn't just bite, he picks people up."

Funnell, who won this event in 1995 and 1996, foresees that she could have a problem at any of the fences where she feels the need to steady the horse in order to set him up for the obstacle. "When you ask him to come back, he tends to lose impulsion," she said of the 11-year-old.