William Fox Pitt and Stunning, lying eighth after the dressage, talks about his plans for Saturday’s cross country course

Temperatures reached a sweaty 32 degrees this afternoon with high humidity. Rain is forecast, however, and most riders are in agreement that Pierre Michelet’s tough and imaginative cross-country course could alter the order considerably.

Britain¨s anchorman William Fox-Pitt, who did a good job with the often tense Stunning, once a flat racehorse in New Zealand, to lie eighth, but he admitted that he feels under pressure as the team number four and concerned about the first water complex, where Badminton director Hugh Thomas, acting as head of crisis management at Pau, described the exit over a severely angled trough to a bank as “almost unjumpable”.

William said: “A good ride at the first water will give me a confidence boost; I’ll be relieved when that’s past, but there¨s still plenty to do. It’s an uncertain distance into the water – the bounce is long and the one-stride distance is also long – a yard shorter and it would be straightforward.

“Stunning did lose confidence at waters – he got submerged at Kentucky with Mark Todd – and we have had to bring him down a level and do plenty with him to build him up again. He¨s a fast and nimble horse, although not overly powerful, but I don’t think that will be the issue tomorrow.”