Silence fell in the grand stands as Andrew Hoy entered the arena aboard Mr Practan – for the Burghley title means much more to Hoy than the £45,000 first prize. Having won at Kentucky and Badminton this year, Hoy is the second rider ever to contest the $250,000 Rolex Grand Slam – Pippa Funnell took the prize pot at Burghley in 2003.

But Andrew Hoy looked a picture of calm as he made his way down the centre line, bravely wearing white gloves. Mr Pracatan floated through the first few movements, clocking up a smattering of eights and nines for the medium trot, half pass and rein back.

It quickly became clear that it was not a question of whether the score would go into the lead but how far it would take Hoy above current leader William Fox-Pitt. In the end a score of 41.3 penalties has put him into the lead by just under four penalties and on track for the Rolex Grand Slam.

Spectators at Burghley have a lot more of Hoy to watch before the dressage phase ends. His wife Bettina is riding later this morning and Andrew will be riding his other horse, 2006 Badminton winner Moonfleet, late tomorrow afternoon.

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