Cavalier a solid companion in King's pursuit of elusive victory

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The Independent Online

The Great Britain eventer Mary King is hoping her pursuit of a gold medal could be at an end after a promising display in the final dressage session of Olympic eventing yesterday.

King, 47, has been a fixture of Team GB since the 1992 Games in Barcelona but so far has only a team silver to show for her efforts. Daisy Dick and William Fox-Pitt both failed to score below 50 in their dressage on Saturday, leaving Great Britain some way short of the medal places upon completion of the first session. But Tina Cook scored 40.20 on Miners Frolic in the evening session, while Sharon Hunt was solid as she picked up 43.50 points on Tankers Town.

A composed performance from King and Call Again Cavalier meant that the Olympic veteran is ninth in the individual standings with 38.10 points while Great Britain moved up to fourth in the team standings with two days of eventing left. "I was over the moon," King said. "I knew I had to do well. I don't have any gold medals and I have been working at it for many years. I genuinely enjoy it, so why stop?"

The British-born Australian Lucinda Fredericks set the benchmark on Headley Britannia on Saturday when she topped the individual rankings with a score of 30.40. No one could better that yesterday, meaning the 42-year-old completed the dressage in first place while Belgium's Karin Donckers, on Gazelle De La Brasserie, is second with 31.70 and Germany's Ingrid Klimke, on Abraxxas, is third with 33.50.

King is the highest-placed Briton in ninth while Cook is four places below. Hunt is 18th while Fox-Pitt and Dick finished 34th and 37th respectively, though only the team's three highest scores count towards the final result.

In the team standings, Australia are top with 102.80 points while Germany and the United States complete the top three.

The eventing resumes this morning when the riders take on the challenging cross-country at the Beas River course in Hong Kong.

The shortest-ever course in an Olympic three-day event, coupled with the heat and humidity, means it is certain to test the competitors to the limit. But King is relishing the opportunity to increase further her chances of winning that elusive gold. "I am very much looking forward to it," she said. "I have been there three times and will go for a fourth look."

l Ronaldinho scored twice for Brazil as they beat New Zealand 5-0 in the football yesterday. The striker scored with a fortuitous free-kick and a penalty. New Zealand have only three professional players in their squad.