Law making up for Olympic setback

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The Independent Online
Leslie Law held the lead on the chestnut thoroughbred, Perryfields George, when the first day of dressage ended yesterday at the Blair Castle Horse Trials in Perthshire.

Law, who was denied a ride in the Olympics when New Flavour bruised a foot before the contest started, is now 4.8pts ahead of Angela Tucker, who was trainer of the Japanese team in Atlanta. Sharing third place - just 1.4pts behind Tucker on Wily Wizard - are Owen Moore on Prime Contender and New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson on New York.

Perryfields George has been with Law for the last three years. The classy seven-year-old had an unfortunate fall in May when he clipped a stone wall on the steeplechase at Compiegne in France. "That turned us clean over and he also had a nasty cut on his hind leg," Law said. He nevertheless has high hopes for the young horse, who will probably go to Le Lion d'Angers in October if all goes well here.

Today Law rides the dressage test on his second (and less experienced) mount, Matt Butler. Also still to come are Blyth Tait, the new Olympic champion, on Darby and Karen Dixon on Simply the Best.

Law believes that fence 19 (comprising two steps up to an arrowhead) may be the most influential of the 24 obstacles on the hilly cross-country course that riders will tackle tomorrow.

Laerke Larson, the only Danish rider competing in the Junior European Championships which also take place here, rode a superb dressage test on Bad Bally and she now holds the lead for the individual title. When the dressage phase is completed today, Germany seems likely to have the advantage over the eight other nations contesting the team championship.

BOWMORE BLAIR CASTLE HORSE TRIALS (Blair Atholl, Perthshire): 1 Perryfields George (L Law, GB) 42.4; 2 Wily Wizard (A Tucker, GB) 47.6; 3 = Prime Contender (O Moore, GB) and New York (A Nicholson, NZ) 49.0. Junior European Championships: 1 Bad Bally (L Larson, Den) 43.6; 2 Alcatraz (C Peper, Ger) 49.4; 3 Glen Nevis II (S Duke, Irl) 50.0; 4 Ice Dancer II (R Friend, GB) 51.4.