Jock Paget well-placed after Burghley dressage

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 11:29 31/08/2012

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Kiwi three-day eventer Jock Paget reckons he'll be ''right up there'' come Monday morning (NZT) if he can finish on his dressage score at the four-star Burghley Horse Trials in England.

Paget lies second aboard Clifton Lush at the prestigious event in Lincolnshire, with 43 of the 85 starters in action on the first day of dressage.

Most of the heavy-hitters are scheduled to do their dressage test tomorrow but Paget, the world No 3 who finished 10th at the Olympics and was a key cog in New Zealand's team bronze medal, is handily placed.

He collected 46.2 penalties, putting him second behind Britain's Ruth Edge and Rogersdale, who have 45.5. World No 2 William Fox-Pitt is third on Seacookie (46.5).

''I'm very happy with the horse; he did a test that he was capable of doing and there was only maybe an extra mark or two to pick up,'' Paget said.

''We have to put that behind us and focus on the next part of the competition (the cross-country on Sunday morning NZT).

''He (Lush) is a good jumper, he's a New Zealand thoroughbred, but at Burghley you can't take anything cheaply. I won't be able to relax until I'm through the finish flags.''

Paget, who was fifth on his Burghley debut last year, expected the leaderboard to change significantly tomorrow.

Among those in dressage action on day two are Fox-Pitt on his top horse, Parklane Hawk, a New Zealand thoroughbred who won at Burghley last year and again at Lexington, Kentucky, in April.

New Zealand's world No 1 Andrew Nicholson will ride his best chance Avebury tomorrow as he seeks to overhaul Fox-Pitt and win the FEI Classics series, which offers a $US150,000 prize for the rider who has the most points across the world's six four-star events in the 2011-12 season.

Nicholson rode his second horse, Calico Joe, today, scoring 53 penalties to be 15th. The other Kiwi in action on the first day, Lucy Jackson, is 12th after incurring 52 penalties.

Paget is the only international rider in the top six.

''I would think that is going to change tomorrow,'' he said.

''There are still a lot of good horses to come and normally the judges warm up a bit as well. But I am in a handy position and if I can finish on that score I should be right up there.''

Along with Nicholson (Avebury) and Jackson (Animator II), Mark Todd (Major Milestone) and Caroline Powell (Boston Two Tip) will also feature on the second day of dressage.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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