Law lays down the Badminton gauntlet

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The Independent Online

Lesley Law and Shear H20 looked finely tuned for the Badminton Horse Trials yesterday, when they won the Pera Pre-Badminton Dressage and Show Jumping Challenge at the Grange Park Equestrian Centre.

The winning 10-year-old grey had already completed his scheduled one-day event runs before Badminton, which begins in 10 days' time. Others, however, have been caught out by the cancellation of both Rolleston and Ston Easton horse trials, where advanced classes were due to take place on Sunday and Monday.

William Fox-Pitt had planned to give his two Badminton mounts (Moon Man, who was runner-up yesterday, and Stunning) their final runs at Rolleston before it was called off yesterday.

By contrast, Leslie Law's schedule has gone almost entirely to plan. Shear H20 had a win and a second place in three one-day events this year, before winning yesterday's "challenge" with the best dressage score and a clear round over the big show jumping track.

Law finished ahead of Fox-Pitt on Moon Man and the leaders from Australia, Matt Ryan and Kibah Sandstone. Ryan, the 1992 Olympic champion, was denied a run in Atlanta in 1996 when Hinnegar bruised a heel. He is hoping Kibah Sandstorm will show good enough form at Badminton to secure a place in the Australian squad for Sydney.

PERA PRE-BADMINTON DRESSAGE AND SHOW JUMPING CHALLENGE (Grange Park Equestrian Centre, Wittering, Cambs): 1 Shear H20 (L Law, GB) 29.87 penalties; 2 Moon Man (W Fox-Pitt, GB) 32.27; 3 Kibah Sandstone (M Ryan, Aus) 33.47; 4 William Hill (N McDonnell, GB) 33.73; 5 One Hasty Retreat (T Boon, GB) 34.27; 6 The Tourmaline Rose (P Funnell, GB) 35.47.