Equestrianism: Hoy steers Moon Fleet into the lead

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The Independent Online

Andrew Hoy held the advantage when the dressage phase of the Badminton Horse Trials was completed yesterday. In contrast to Zara Phillips, who had an uncomfortable ride on the uncooperative Ardfield Magic Star, the Australian and Moon Fleet were in accord – apart from some uncalled for jigging up and down on the spot during the first halt.

Phillips was philosophical about her disappointing performance on Ardfield Magic Star (also known as The Monster) who is lying 76th as they go into today's demanding cross-country phase. "He does what he wants, it all depends on the mood he's in," she said. Glenbuck, the less experienced of Phillips's two mounts is now well ahead of his stable-companion in 18th place.

Hoy's Moon Fleet and Ruth Edge's mount Muschamp Impala, who is lying a close second, are both returning from long lay-offs. Moon Fleet, now 17 years of age, was withdrawn from Badminton on the eve of last year's event when he was suffering from a partial paralysis of his left larynx. He underwent surgery in November and, having competed in only two events since the problem was diagnosed, he will need to qualify for the Olympics this weekend if the Australian selectors, who are here in force, can consider him for this year's Games.

The British selectors are also keeping a watchful eye on likely Olympic candidates, notably Pippa Funnell on Ensign (now 7th) and Oliver Townend with Coup de Coeur (10th).

Badminton Horse Trials: Standings after dressage: 1 Moon Fleet (A Hoy, Aus) 35.4; 2 Muschamp Impala (R Edge, GB) 36.1; 3 Shaabrak (L Wiegersma, GB) 37.4; 4 If You Want II (M Wright, GB) 38.0; 5 Nullabor (C Fredericks, Aus) 38.1; 6 FRH Little Lemon (A Dibowski, Ger) 38.4; 7= Drivetime (E Baldwin, GB) and Ensign (P Funnell, GB) 39.3; 9 Hildago de l'Ile (N Touzaint, Fr) 39.6; 10 Coup de Coeur (O Townend, GB) 40.0.

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