Dressage leaders Kim Severson and Winsome Adante are on course to win their third Rolex Kentucky three-day event after a flawless cross-country inside the time earned the citation of “the great partnership of our time” from Philip Dutton.

Kim, still on 38.2 penalties, has three show jumps in hand over Leslie Law, who moved up to second on Coup de Coeur (50.4), while Dutton himself has made eventing history by riding three horses into the top five. He is equal third with himself on The Foreman and his Olympic ride, Nova Top (51.2), and fifth on Hannigan (55.2).

Andrew Hoy is seventh on Yeoman’s Point, though not without controversy. In turn of events echoing his wife’s show jumping experience in Athens, Andrew missed a flag on Phase A.

After some debate, he was allowed to re-start the whole speed and endurance phase “in the interests of fair play” because he had not been alerted to his mistake by stewards, who in turn had been erroneously briefed about their obligations.

However, barring a catastrophic show jumping round by Severson, his hopes of winning a second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam have evaporated. Moonfleet (equal fourth after dressage) fell heavily at a table type fence at 25a.

The southern states have suffered unseasonably cold and wet weather lately, but Kentucky’s limestone base soon wicked away the deluge to provide rideable footing. Although the steeplechase remained boggy, with more than half the field incurring time penalties, the cross-country got faster as the day progressed.

The top cadre made it look easy, though Leslie Law said the course was “stiff but fair.”

“There is talk that the Rolex is now bigger than Badminton – I hope that’s true,” he added.