King's majesty puts Britain in medal hunt

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The Independent Online

Team manager Yogi Breisner promised Great Britain would fight to the last after moving into the bronze medal position ahead of the final day of eventing. Mary King and Tina Cook both entered the top 10 of the individual rankings after clear rounds on the Beas River cross-country course yesterday while William Fox-Pitt recorded the day's second fastest time.

The impressive performances meant Britain were third with 173.7 points, just 11.7 behind second-placed Australia, while Germany were first on 158.1 ahead of today's showjumping. "I am absolutely delighted with the riders and with the way the horses coped with the course," Breisner said. "We now need to make sure the horse are OK and ready for tomorrow when they come out to jump. We certainly won't go down without a fight, while the pressure is on the teams above us to stay there."

Daisy Dick on Spring Along was first out for Britain and picked up 17.2 time faults to move on to 68.9 points. Fox-Pitt followed up on Parkmore Ed and more than made up for a disappointing display in the dressage, recording the team's fastest time to collect just 10 penalty points and is on 60.2 points overall.

"That's as tough as eventing gets," said the 39-year-old. "The questions come thick and fast but I had an enjoyable ride where I managed to get into a good rhythm. He [Parkmore Ed] has a long stride which worked to our advantage. He was fabulous and finished really well, he is a super horse." Cook enjoyed a clear round and picked up just 17.2 penalty points for a score of 57.4 overall which puts her 10th.

After Sharon Hunt had incurred jumping penalties on Tankers Town to finish with a score of 47.6, King took to the course in the worst conditions as rain poured down.

But the Olympic veteran produced a superb round on Call Again Cavalier and her score of 56.1 overall left her tied for fifth. "I was very emotional at the end and just looked to the sky and thought 'Aren't I lucky to be doing this'," said King. "Call Again Cavalier is a great jumper and whatever happens tomorrow, the best horse will win."

King was just 5.1 points off third-placed Megan Jones, of Australia, while Germany's Hinrich Romeike and Ingrid Klimke were first and second. There was heartache for China's sole eventing representative as Eton College student Alex Hua Tian was eliminated after falling from his horse after attempting a jump.

l Spanish authorities have pledged to hunt down and even imprison doping offenders after cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno became the first competitor at the Beijing Olympics to fail a drugs test. Moreno, better known as Maribel Moreno, was tested for drugs on the day she arrived in Beijing on 31 July and the results showed she had used the endurance-boosting EPO drug.