DUBLIN-born Aoife Clark led the eight-strong Irish contingent at Badminton Horse Trials in England today (Friday) with a top ten place after the completion of the two-day dressage phase.
Riding the 15 year-old gelding Vaguely North, Olympian Clark scored a notable 42.9 penalties in dressage, at first claiming fourth place overall, but dropping to tenth as the day progressed.
Badminton, which is one of only six four-star events in the sport worldwide, saw New Zealander Andrew Nicholson establish an early, and ultimately unbeatable lead yesterday with a penalty score of 37.8 on the chestnut gelding Nereo.
The dressage phase will be followed by the challenging cross-country on Saturday and the final show jumping phase on Sunday.
Other Irish scores over the two days of dressage in a 79-strong field were:
38th Camilla Speirs/Portersize Just a Jiff (ISH)(TIH) 49.8 penalties
46th Clare Abbott/Euro Prince (ISH) 52.0 penalties
47th Michael Ryan/Ballylynch Adventure (ISH) 52.1 penalties
49th Joseph Murphy/Electric Cruise (ISH)(TIH) 52.6 penalties
51st Elizabeth Power/September Bliss 53.2 penalties
52nd Sam Watson/Horseware Bushman (ISH)(TIH) 53.6 penalties
=68th Joseph Murphy/Sportsfield Othello (ISH) 58.4 penalties
Badminton saw Irish-bred event horses account for 41% of the accepted entries this year.