Andrew Hoy has retained his lead in the World Cup Eventing Finals in Malmo, Sweden after a remarkably trouble-free cross country day in which over half the field went clear with 9 inside the time. Piia Pantsu has remained second , also staying on her dressage score, while Clayton Fredericks added just 1.6 time penalties to be third.

The four British riders all went clear and William Fox Pitt has moved up to fourth after the three riders who were previously above him – Germans Niccole Grimm, and Simone Dietermann plus Sweden’s Magnus Galerdal – all failed to complete the course.

Olivia Bun is in fight for Australia and Heide White, who had the fastest time of the day – finishing 9 seconds inside the optimum time of 7.14 – is best of the Americans in sixth on Northern Spy. Dag Albert is the highest placed Swede 14th on his European Championships horse Who’s Blitz.

The combination fences riders most feared proved far move forgiving than anticipated and faults were rare. Only three faulted at 20 the third of the angled graffiti covered skinnys of which the defending champion Linda Argottson was one. Magnus Gallerdal, Rodolphe Scherer and Bruno Bouvier plus Simone Dietermann, who was held on course while medics attended to a concussed Niccole Grimm, all retired or were eliminated after mistakes at the first water. Andrew Hoy said “Today has been very god for the sport. The designer catered for all nations and when the fist rider out on the course (Poland’s Arthur Spolowitz) went so well and inside the time it gave us all confidence.

“Mr Pracatan was absolutely wonderful.. I feel I’m being boring saying this about him every time but he’s so focussed and always looks for the next fence.”

Clayton Fredericks commented: “I thought he course would ride far more twistily. This is the fist time I’ve asked my horse to go fast and I expected it to be a bit messy but the course seemed to flow.”

The course designer Per Magnusson, pronounced himself well pleased with the results. “When you get the best riders you can dare to ask the questions. “

Tomorrow’s show jumping course is likely to prove influential there is little margin for error, and it is a seriously big track built with light poles. Andrew Hoy, however, declared himself confident. “Mr Pracatan was clear at Badminton and Gatcombe and his jumping felt particularly clean across the country today”.