Pippa Funnell holds a commanding lead after the first day’s dressage at the three-star three-day event at Saumur, France.

Riding Susie Cranston’s Cornerman, Pippa’s mark of 39.8 gave her an eight-point margin over Germany’s Dr Kristen Thomsen riding Kirschblute.

Cornerman, once competed by Ian Stark, came to Pippa last year and she is known to think highly of the bay gelding who might have been aimed at Badminton, had it run.

The pair were seventh at Bramham last year and fifth after cross-country at Pau, although Cornerman had to be withdrawn then due to a minor injury.

Caroline Pratt’s mark of 53.6 on her first ride Primitive Streak helps to put the British team in the leadat this early stage.

Italian army officer Fabio Magni is lying third on 49.8 on his Irish-bred Cool ‘N Breezy, on whom he was fifth in the individual Olympic competition last year.

Best of the home side is fourth-placed Herve Letheux on Arno, ahead of Marie- Christine Duroy on Elton. Australian Olympic gold-medallist Matt Ryan is in fifth on his reserve Sydney horse Balmoral Mr Slinky.

However, many riders have their second horses today (Friday) and the order is expected to change.

Saumur is being used as a selection trial by many nations, most notably France, Germany, Britain and Italy, for the European Championships this October.

For full results visit at www.saumur.org