Ireland’s Steven Smith has taken the lead at Bramham International Horse Trials at the end of the first day of Dressage. Partnering Quality VH, Smith scored an impressive 45.6 pen, more than four penalties ahead of nearest rival Joris Van Springel from Belgian. In third place is New Zealander Andrew Nicholson on Henry Tankerville on a score of 50.9 penalties with Britain’s John Marsden in fourth.

Smith – a former show jumper – runs a competition yard in Northern Ireland and is determined to qualify for the World Equestrian Games at Aachen this summer. A win at Bramham will put him on track for WEG and match the achievement of his brother Trevor who was chosen for Irish eventing team at the Sydney Olympics. But with another full day of dressage still to go, all could change for Smith by the end of the afternoon.

Thirty-one competitors have been confirmed for the Under 25 CCI three-star following the vet inspection – including Britain’s Zara Phillips. Sadly Oliver Townend and Measure for Measure will not be competing.

Full results can be found on the Bramham International Horse Trials website on www.bramham-horse.co.uk