Tait prepares for Darby ride

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The Independent Online
Blyth Tait, the new Olympic three-day event champion, has a special regard for the Bowmore Blair Castle Horse Trials, which begin in Perthshire today. It was here that the New Zealander first rode his victorious Olympic mount, Ready Teddy, in a three-day event when finishing 11th last year.

Tait has returned to the Scottish venue to ride Darby, a 10-year-old New Zealand-bred thoroughbred, who came to Britain at the beginning of last year. One of his travelling companions on the long journey was Chesterfield, with whom Tait won an Olympic bronze medal in the team contest in Atlanta.

Subsequently, Darby had time off because of a leg injury, but he has come back to produce clear show-jumping and cross-country rounds at his four one-day events this summer. "He's a good, quiet member of the team," Tait said of the horse, who will be providing him with his first ride in a three-day event since winning his Olympic medals.

Karen Dixon, who was part of the disappointing British team in Atlanta, will be riding Simply the Best. The seven-year-old was shaken up by a fall at Maison Lafitte at the beginning of June in which Dixon broke her shoulder, but confidence now seems restored after a splendid cross-country round at Thirlestane Castle last weekend.

Two riders who had to withdraw prior to the Olympic event, Australia's Matt Ryan and Britain's Leslie Law, will hope to put that disappointment behind them during a busy weekend at Blair, where they both ride two horses.

Ian Stark has a different role. He has returned from Atlanta, where he had a fall with Stanwick Ghost, to help his 16-year-old daughter, Stephanie, who rides in the Junior European Championships which run concurrently with the senior contest.