Australia’s Christopher Burton provisionally holds top spot after the CCI**** cross-country at Pau, France – but that could change after an appeal by Clayton Fredericks.

Christopher, 29, had a faultless round today on Jean and Jade Finlay’s Holstein Park Leilani, finishing 15sec inside the 10min 39sec optimum time.

“I had a super round – it was the first time I’ve ridden one of Pierre Michelet’s courses, but I thought it was a great track to ride,” said Christopher. “After our fall at Burghley [at the Cottesmore Leap] it’s good to come here and go so well and prove she is a quality horse.”

This would be Christopher’s second win at four-star as he also won Adelaide in 2008 on Newsprint, who should have been the pathfinder here today but was withdrawn as he was not on top form after the journey.

Clayton Fredericks was first equal with Christopher after dressage, but he finished 5sec over the time with the McAuley’s four-star first-timer Bendigo, which dropped him to third in the provisional standings.

However, the ground jury are currently reviewing Clayton’s two time-penalties.

“I had to alter my line at the first water because of a steward raking there and doing a dance on my line, so I’m asking for some seconds to be removed,” he explained.

Meanwhile William Fox-Pitt had a fantastic day, riding three clears inside the time. Oslo has risen from third to second, Lionheart from ninth to sixth and Macchiato from 13th to ninth (all provisional results).

William did have dodgy moments at water fences on both Macchiato and Oslo. Oslo dragged his back legs over the house into the second water (fence 21a), tipping the skinny up. This resulted in a hold of some 40min because the fence fixings had pulled the ground away so it could no longer support the obstacle. Eventually the fence was taken out of the competition for safety reasons.

Meanwhile Mary King retired her better-placed horse, Apache Sauce, after a run-out at the corner at fence four, but went clear in the time on Imperial Cavalier, who provisionally lies 10th.

This leaves the result of the HSBC FEI Classics $150,000 ( £94,800) first prize on a knife edge. William must win tomorrow to beat Mary to it – and even if he wins, she must finish below eighth to drop to second. If William does not win, Mary takes top spot in the Classics regardless of where she finishes.

Andrew Nicholson now lies fourth on Mr Cruise Control, up from sixth equal by going clear in the time, while Lucy Wiegersma’s 0.8 time-penalties keep her fifth on Simon Porloe. These standings are unlikely to change as regardless of the result of his appeal, Clayton will still be in the first three.

France’s Astier Nicolas (Jhakti Du Janlie) lost his fourth place after dressage with 20 penalties at the corner which formed the second element of the final combination on course, fence 28b.

Pau website with full results and start lists

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PROVISIONAL RESULTS AFTER CROSS-COUNTRY

1.Christopher Burton on Holstein Park Leilani, AUS 43.7
2.William Fox-Pitt on Oslo, GB 44.2
3.Clayton Fredericks on Bendigo, AUS 45.7
4.Andrew Nicholson on Mr Cruise Control, NZL 46.2
5.Lucy Wiegersma on Simon Porloe, GB 46.3
6.William Fox-Pitt on Lionheart, GB 46.7
7.Frank Ostholt on Mr Medicott, GER 47.3
8.Nicolas Touzaint on Hildago De L’Ile, FRA 47.5
9.William Fox-Pitt on Macchiato, GB 50
10.Mary King on Imperial Cavalier, GB 51