Mark Todd’s Leonidas was the first of the morning group to trouble the top ten of the Leaderboard, with 41.7 penalties, the intensity of the flying changes towards the end of the test proving a bit too much for him today and dragging his mark down.
Tim Price had Ringwood Sky Boy going in a lovely balance for 38.7 to slot into 3rd place. They showed lots of high quality, secure work, and beautiful flying changes, for high marks throughout, just spoilt from being a leading test by the halts, which seem to be a point of tension today and rather let him down – for instance he swung his quarters out to the side in the first one, and the final one was very brief.
Bill Levett had Improvise moving well and really swinging through his body (unlike some) but the tension got to him and there were a couple of mistakes, not least an unrequested flying change which totally spoilt the second counter canter serpentine, and also one thrown in for luck down the final line. They scored 44.9, to go into 13th, and Bill will be rueing those errors. But this is very unlikely to be a dressage competition, judging from the feedback about the XC course, so there is still all to play for tomorrow.
At this stage Michael Jung is still sitting securely at the top of the Leaderboard, and it may well be that only he, on his top horse La Biosthetique Sam FBW (who imho moves better than Fischerrocana FST) will score higher. We also have William Fox-Pitt with Fernhill Pimms first in after lunch, Chris Burton with Jamaimo, Paul Tapner with Kilronan and Jonelle Price with Classic Moet who could all be in the mix at the top.
e-Venting blogger Charlotte Brear and her part Shire Manor Missile follow William in, and we will be rooting for her in particular. She reported yesterday that “Siren is feeling exceptionally fresh and wild – I am absolutely dreading dressage!!!” so fingers firmly crossed that he can manage to keep his lid on and let her ride him!