King conquers final phase after game groundwork

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The Independent Online
Mary King retained the overnight lead to gain her first victory in the Burghley Pedigree Chum Horse Trials, after a single error on Star Appeal in yesterday's final show jumping.

After the disappointments of the Olympic Games, King has now had three marvellous weekends in succession with the Frizzell team of horses, winning the Scottish Championship and taking the top two places in the British Open before victory here.

The seeds of success had been sown in the dressage arena and, more importantly, on the cross- country where Star Appeal cruised round on his long ground- eating stride. King had one show jumping fence in hand overnight and was given another yesterday when the New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who gave Cartoon II a masterly ride, had the last fence down.

"He's very genuine and he tries hard, but basically he doesn't have much of a jump," Nicholson said with a grin of Cartoon. "He is even worse in the practice area, you feel it's a bonus when he comes in and jumps the first fence."

King's threat from the other New Zealander, Mark Todd, had already disappeared when a lame Bertie Blunt, lying in third place, was withdrawn before the morning's horse inspection. Helen Bell, who had been fifth on Troubleshooter, also withdrew.

Matt Ryan, the 1992 Olympic champion, jumped clear to finish third on Hinnegar, the horse who would have represented Australia in Atlanta but for bruising a foot. Fourth place went to Pippa Funnell, who has had her share of problems at four-star level but appears to have overcome that with a wonderful performance on the little skewbald, Bits and Pieces.

Results, Digest, page23