Funnell to get best out of Burke's Boy

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The Independent Online

Pippa Funnell will be riding a potential star, the 11-year-old Burke's Boy, when she competes in the Horse & Hound section of the Windsor International Horse Trials, which begin this morning with the first of two days of dressage.

The horse is by Edmund Burke, who is also the sire of Supreme Rock with whom Funnell will be defending her European title at Pau in France next month. "He is potentially a big hope, but there is a difficult side to him," Funnell said of Burke's Boy. "There's nothing wrong with his attitude and the fences aren't a problem. The difficult part is trying to set him up for a fence, he finds it difficult to adjust and balance himself on the approach."

Funnell will be competing against Leslie Law and Jeanette Brakewell, who were her team-mates when they won Olympic silver medals in Sydney. Law has two mounts: Henbury Smoker and Carbis Bay on whom he is deputising for the injured Katie Parker.

"They're both unknown quantities," Law admitted. "I've only ridden Carbis Bay at Aston-le-Walls, where he won an intermediate. He feels like a very nice horse, though I know very little about him. Fortunately Katie's been giving me lots of tips about the way he goes."

The Princess Royal, President of the event, will have the additional interest of watching her 19-year-old daughter, Zara Phillips, compete at Windsor for the first time. She will be riding Toytown, who was her mount when winning an open intermediate section of this year's Scottish Championships at Thirlestane Castle.

As usual, there will be a strong Kiwi challenge from the recent Burghley winner, Blyth Tait, and runner-up, Andrew Nicholson. Tait rides two seven-year-olds – Lily the Pink and Cool Time – who, he believes, are both "pretty genuine intermediate horses".