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Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 18:36 UK

Baldwin leads Badminton challenge

BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS
Dates: 7-10 May Coverage: Watch live on BBC Red Button/online 1100-1700 BST Saturday; BBC Two 1300-1500 BST Sunday

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Horses enjoy lap of luxury at Badminton

DAY ONE LEADERBOARD:
Emily Baldwin/Drivetime (42.3), Ruth Edge/Mayhem III, Jo May/Faere Vision (46.7), Rodney Powell/Zin Zan II (48.0), Kitty Boggis/Boondoggle (50.2)

Emily Baldwin ended the opening day of the Badminton Horse Trials at the top of the leaderboard with Drivetime.

The pair finished with a score of 42.3 points to secure a narrow overnight lead from Ruth Edge on Mayhem III, with Jo May on Faere Vision in third.

But with the other half of the 80-strong field set to go in the dressage on Friday, Baldwin could be overhauled.

Attention will focus on a host of later starters, including Lucy Wiegermsa, William Fox-Pitt and Zara Phillips.

You don't focus on where you are, you focus on what you have got to do and try to shut everything out

Emily Baldwin

Phillips has described the competition as the "pinnacle of eventing" and will provide a stiff challenge on Toytown after finishing well down the first-day field in 35th place on her other horse Ardfield Magic Star.

An injury to Toytown meant Phillips, the 2006 world champion, withdrew from last year's Olympic Games event in Hong Kong.

But they looked back in the groove during recent events at Powderham Castle and Somerley Park.

"He's had two runs and he is very happy with himself," said Phillips. "We will take each step as it comes."

British Olympian Fox-Pitt ended the opening day in eighth place on Macchiato and will be expected to push his second ride Idalgo high up the leaderboard on Friday, while Wiegersma will partner Shaabrak and Oliver Townend will link up with Flint Curtis.

Baldwin, who finished 25th at Badminton last year, said: "Overall, I was thrilled with how it went.

606: DEBATE

"You don't focus on where you are, you focus on what you have got to do and try to shut everything out. He is a horse, though, that loves the crowds."

After the second day of dressage, Saturday's cross country will determine the fate of a number of challengers before the event closes on Sunday with show-jumping.



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