Get Smart pulled out of Badminton

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Karen Dixon has been forced to withdraw her gallant partner, Get Smart, from the Badminton Mitsubishi Horse Trials which take place from 2 to 5 May. This effectively puts the 15-year-old horse out of the Olympic Games, as he has not competed in a three-day event since winning team gold and individual bronze medals at the 1994 World Equestrian Games.

Get Smart, who was withdrawn yesterday because of persistent coughing, has a wonderful record at Badminton, having finished in the top 10 here on five occasions. He was also the best British horse when sixth at the 1992 Olympics. Dixon now relies on the dynamic little 10-year-old Too Smart, with whom she was fifth at Burghley last year.

Three other top riders may have to withdraw one of their two horses. General Jock, Kristina Gifford's mount, has a haematoma in the girth area and has not been able to be saddled since falling at Brigstock on Easter Sunday. Mr Mackinnon, the mount of Ian Stark, has been suffering from a virus and Ethelred the Unready, one of Mark Todd's intended partners, has a bruised sole.

Badminton will still have a high-class field and a record first prize of pounds 24,000. Entries include Australia's Matt Ryan (the Olympic champion), New Zealand's Vaughn Jefferis (holder of the world title), Ireland's Lucy Thompson (the European Open champion) and Bruce Davidson of the United States (the winner here last year and top of the 1995 world rankings).