Cross-country day at Burghley was an intense experience, with equal measures of highs and disappointments. Dressage leaders Andrew Hoy and Moon Fleet (pictured below) held onto their lead, ahead of Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia in second.

“Whatever happens tomorrow it is an amazing achievement to get this far,” said Andrew Hoy afterwards, adding that he is just 22 hours away from knowing whether he is the winner of the $250,000 Rolex Grand Slam.

Hoy took the early lead on his first horse Mr Pracatan “the most genuine doer” and at the end of the day is placed third as well as first on Moon Fleet. “I think I’m in a very good position,” he said, adding that Moon Fleet was “amazing”. “He is not a horse full of confidence,” he said, “you have to build his confidence all the way.”

But he would have been in an even better position had Lucinda Fredericks not clinched second place after a superb round with Headley Britannia (pictured below). However Fredericks is only now relaxing after her ride – she was stopped on course and awarded an incorrect number of time penalties by the scorers, which would have left Hoy in first and second positions.

“Between control and the fence judges there was a mistake made,” course designer Captain Mark Phillips admitted afterwards. “They’ve been as fair as they can be.”

According to Fredericks the 15.3hh Headley Britannia – one of only six mares in the competition – flew round the course. “She put all out and went round easily – much to everyone’s amazement. It was a total pleasure.”

Not everyone made such light weather of Phillips’ course – including both Hoy and Fredericks’ spouses. Clayton Fredericks suffered a nasty fall at the Pedigree Posers and Bettina Hoy got a soaking when Peaceful Warrior fell at the greylag goose in the Land Rover Splash. New Zealand’s Bundy Philpot was also unseated at the Pedigree Posers and was taken to hospital but has since been discharged. Oliver Townend, Chloe Newton, Joss Gray and Anna Warnecke also ended up on the floor.

Francis Whittington made an executive decision to pull up a tired looking Osh Kosh and Mary King (Apache Sauce) and Lucy Wiegersma (Shaabrak) withdrew before the start.

Australia is still enjoying domination of the top positions. Australia’s Shane Rose jumped a good clear to take fourth place, ensuring with Hoy and Fredericks, Australia takes the first four places. As a result British riders have been pushed down the leader board. William Fox-Pitt – last year’s winner – is lying in fifth place with Ruth Edge and Marsh Mayfly in sixth, Jeanette Brakewell and Over To You are in seventh and Mary King on Cashel Bay has shot up from 39th to 11th.

Mark Phillips was pleased with his cross-country course – apart from the Rolex Corners – a fence he had previously described as being “a wicked fence”. Competitors sailed effortlessly over the newly built corners; “next year they will be at the Pony Club Championships,” he said. “Certainly they won’t be there in 2007.”

Tomorrow’s show jumping commences at 10:30am

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