William Fox-Pitt (pictured) goes into tomorrow’s show jumping phase with two fences in hand to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Despite riding Tamarillo in the closing stages of the cross-country today — having to contend with the worst of the ground, pouring rain and being held on course due to the fall of another rider — he still managed the fastest round of the day, which was only the third inside the optimum time.

“Once you get going you don’t notice the rain,” said William. “Tamarillo was fantastic today. Horses like him are kept on the ball by a course like this — there’s always something to do at Burghley, so he couldn’t start messing around.”

Listen to William’s interview

Philip Dutton, who led for most of the day, holds second place with Woodburn for America, while William is also in third with Ballincoola. Mary King also has two horses in the top six, lying in fourth and fifth places with Imperial Cavalier and Apache Sauce.

Listen to Mary’s interview

Neither Lucy Wiegersma, second after dressage with Shaabrak, nor Karin Donckers, fourth last night on Rose’s Merlin, completed the course. Lucy pulled up after a stop at Capability’s Classic (fence 22), while Karin’s ride went horribly lame at The Land Rover Trout Hatchery (fences 11 and 12).

The end of the day was characterised by some nasty-looking falls at the first mushroom at Coutts Curve (fences 25 and 26). Laura Shears (Wulstan Rock On), Zara Phillips (Ardfield Magic Star) and Anna Warnecke (Twinkle Bee) all had horse falls here, as did Matthew Wright (L’Aristo Du Lado) earlier in the day.

All the fallers walked away, but course-designer Mark Phillips confirmed the mushrooms will be scrapped next year.

Listen to Mark’s interview

Results after cross-country

1. Tamarillo (William Fox-Pitt, GB) 39.8
2. Woodburn (Philip Dutton, USA) 50.2
3. Ballincoola (William Fox-Pitt, GB) 51
4. Imperial Cavalier (Mary King, GB) 54.7
5. Apache Sauce (Mary King, GB) 56.7
6. Fairfax (Rodolphe Scherer, FRA) 58.2

Keep logging onto www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley08 for updates, blogs and competitor diaries from Burghley.

Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next Thursday (11 September) for a 12-page special report, colour photographs and William Fox-Pitt’s comment.