Pippa Funnell made a positive first step towards retaining her Bramham crown when she swept into the lead in the CCI*** with a typically expressive and polished performance aboard Billy Landretti that earned her a score of 37.4.

Second-last to go on Friday afternoon, Pippa and Jane and Jonathan Clarke’s white-faced chestnut notched up mostly eights and a clutch of sevens and nines to take a 2.4-pen lead over Germany’s Simone Deitermann and Free Easy NRW.

“He’s potentially the best horse I’ve ever had to ride on the flat and we hoped that he would produce a good test,” said Pippa, who won here last year on Redesigned. “He can be spooky in a three-day event atmosphere, though, but today he produced the sort of test that he’s been doing at one-days.”

Simone Deitermann heads a trio of German riders who occupy the next three places. Kirsten Thompson (Horseware Marester’s Boy) is in third place on 41.6 while Kai Rueder (Saaten Unions Charly Weld) lies fourth on 42.

Camilla Speirs leads under-25s

In the Bishop Burton Under-25 CCI*** Ireland’s Camilla Speirs and the diminutive Portersize Just A Jiff lead the field on a score of 46.

“He’s improving all the time,” said Camilla, who will be hoping to make amends for crashing fall at Badminton caused by a lack of brakes. “I’ve changed his bit to something slightly stronger, so hopefully that will do the trick.”

Helen Dunning and Keep Your Options Open lie second on 46.2, while Ben Hobday (Uptons Who) is third on 49.4.

Neil Spratt and Upleadon lead the CIC***, a class they won two years ago. Neil scored 38 to head Ruth Edge and Rogersdale by two penalties.

Cross-country is big and bold

Ian Stark’s CCI*** follows largely the same route as last year although the start and finish have been moved to allow horses a little longer to get into their stride before tackling the historically influential first water complex, the Dickinson Dees Beachside (fences 9 and 10).

Camilla Speirs highlighted this complex, which involves jumping into the first pond over a lobster before turning 90 degrees over a large hanging log into the upper pond, followed by a an angled skinny on exit, as a serious question.

“I haven’t dared walk up to the big hanging log in the middle — I’ve never seen anything so enormous!” she said. “The whole course is going to take serious riding from start to finish.”

Pippa Funnell added: “Some of the questions are similar to last year and, like 12 months ago, I think it’s going to be the cumulative effort of jumping a lot of big fences that will take its toll.”

Cross-country for the CCI*** will start tomorrow at 9am. The first combination out on course will be Izzy Taylor and Thistledown Poposki.

Results after dressage

CCI***

1. Pippa Funnell on Billy Landretti (GB) 37.4
2. Simone Deitermann on Free Easy NRX (GER) 39.8
3. Kirsten Thomsen on Horseware’s Master Boy (GER) 41.6
4. Kai Rueder on Saaten Unions Charly Weld (GER) 42
5. Poly Stockton on Regulus (GB) 42.4
6. Nick Gauntlett on Penguin Ice (GB) 43.4

Under-25 CCI***

1. Camilla Speirs on Portersize Just A Jiff (IRL) 46
2. Helen Dunning on Keep Your Options Open (GB) 46.2
3. Ben Hobday on Uptons Who (GB) 49.4
4. Ludwig Svennerstal on King Bob (SWE) 50
5= Paul Sims on Power Of Dreams (GB) 50.4
5= Tabitha Baird on Enoch (GB) 50.4

CIC***

1. Neil Spratt on Upleadon (NZ) 38
2. Ruth Edge on Rogersdale (GB) 40
3. Kai Rueder on Edino (GER) 43.4

Follow the action from Bramham over the weekend with daily reports on Horseandhound.co.uk