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Funnell edges into the lead after opening day’s action at Houghton Hall

PUBLISHED: 19:57 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 19:57 24 May 2018

Competitors at the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian Burt

Competitors at the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Dressage got under way on day one of the Houghton Horse Trials on Thursday, with riders in all the eventing classes performing in front of the judges.

Kelly Aldous is all smiles at the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian BurtKelly Aldous is all smiles at the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian Burt

With more competitors to do their dressage tests on Friday, the current leader of the headline ‘three-star’ class is multi-medalled British Olympian Pippa Funnell, who was for a while a Norfolk resident.

Funnell’s leading ride is Billy Beware, a home-bred from Funnell and husband William’s renowned Billy Stud.

Sweden’s Therese Viklund lies in second place, riding Diabolique, with Great Britain back in third thanks to Holly Woodhead and Parkfield Quintessential.

Thirty seven of the combinations in this class performed om Thursday, with 68 still to start their challenge.

A wave from Kelly Aldous at Houghton Hall Picture: Ian BurtA wave from Kelly Aldous at Houghton Hall Picture: Ian Burt

It is this ‘three-star’ class which also contains the members of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup teams, so the pressure will be on the remaining riders to get their nations well placed ahead of Saturday’s show jumping phase.

In the ‘two-star’ class, France’s Thomas Carlile’s campaign started with a bang.

With only 11 horses still to do dressage on Friday, Carlile lies in first and fifth places, on Upsilon and Atos Barbotiere respectively.

Norfolk-born Piggy French, riding Graf Cavalier, is in third place behind Australia’s Brook Staples on Doonaveeragh O Six.

Action from the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian BurtAction from the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian Burt

Completing a truly international line-up, Kiwi Jess Campbell tops the ‘one-star’ at the midway point.

Campbell has a one-penalty advantage over Britain’s Caroline Harris and Hong Kong representative Annie Ho.

In the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes, Samantha Hobbs gained I Diablo Joe’s second five-year-old Young Horse Championship qualification in two weeks, finishing ahead of French on Cooley Performance.

Ginnie Turnbull claimed the four-year-old class riding Clapton.

A dressage competitor at the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian BurtA dressage competitor at the Houghton International Horse Trials Picture: Ian Burt

In total 19 nations are represented in the eventing classes, with cross country and show jumping taking place over the weekend.

Dressage for all of the eventing classes kicks off at 8.30am on Friday, with showjumping from 9am and Arena Eventing in the afternoon.

Tickets are available on the gate, which opens at 8.30am. There is an 8am start to events on Sunday.

For more information visit www.musketeer.co.uk.

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