Brilliant Badminton third for King

Joseph Bulmer

Mary King rode a brilliant double clear on Imperial Cavalier at Badminton Horse Trials, which must surely rubber stamp her place on the British Olympic team in 2012.

MARY King headed off to compete in Lexington, Kentucky yesterday morning (Tuesday), able to reflect on a Badminton Horse Trials third place with Imperial Cavalier, which has probably secured her team place for the 2012 Olympics.

King, faced with an exuberant horse in the dressage phase on Saturday afternoon in front of a bumper Easter weekend crowd, worked hard to control his high spirits and ended the day in 12th place.

She had predicted that the horse, fit and ready to produce two double clears inside the times set for the four star event, would prove tricky to ride a dressage test on, once she knew the running order which saw her competing towards the end of the 80-strong field.

After the event, she promised selectors she would work hard on his dressage - he is capable of putting in an absolutely top class performance - in time for the Olympics. Imperial Cavalier often produces tests between 28-31 penalties in lesser events.

A textbook cross country late in the day on Sunday moved King up to seventh place before the final showjumping phase held on Bank Holiday Monday.

Going into the televised showjumping, the top seven riders were split by just two penalty points - less than a pole down - between them.

That meant to maintain her place Mary had to ride clear.

Imperial Cavalier put in a magnificent clear round to put pressure on all those above. King momentarily moved into the lead, to be overhauled only by winner Mark Todd and second-placed Piggy French.

She competes in Kentucky on King’s Temptress and Fern Hill Urco.