US rider Kimberley Vinoski and Winsome Adante take over the lead from Pippa Funnell and Primmore’s Pride after cross-country at Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials

American rider Kimberly Vinoski stormed ahead in today’s cross-country, completing on her 41.6 dressage score with the British-bred Winsome Adante.

Pippa Funnell and Primmore’s Pride now lie second, having lost their dressage advantage with 3.2 time-penalties, the big-striding young bay losing time on the many twists and turns in Mike Etherington-Smith’s much-praised course.

Kim was delighted with her horse, who despite being second in the Foxhall Cup earlier this year has very little experience at this level.

“He’s pretty much a baby but has a great attitude and just gets on with the business,” she said.

Once again, Andrew Nicholson and Fenicio, second to go, held on to the lead for most of the day until Kim took over.

Polly Stockton, who put in a terrific round with Tangle Man, is fourth, ahead of Australian Warren Lamperd and Gregwarrior, who lay second for some considerable time and are one place ahead of local rider William Fox-Pitt and River Dragon by virtue of their cross-country time.

Most felt the course had ridden well, helped by some overnight rain to ease up the ground and make some of the corners more forgiving. As predicted, the bank at fence four proved influential, as did the new complex of corners at fence 19, the Dodson & Horrell Feedstore.

The offset double in the arena also gave its share of sticky moments, as did the bounce into the Petplan Puddle and, indeed, the step out to the new Duck.

Sunday’s show jumping could be a nail-biting affair, particularly if the time is tight, as has been the trend at three-days this season. Less than one pole separates the first four and Mary King, Ann Taylor, Gary Parsonage and Tina Cook will all be looking to move up the leaderboard.