William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk lead the field after the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on a score of 39.7pen.

A consistent and polished performance, which saw William collect three 9s for his riding, was only marred by a mistake on the final centre line when he halted too early.

He joked in the press conference: “I looked at the test sheet this morning and instead of seeing X, I saw L. That’s where I stopped last week [at the Europeans] and that’s where I was stopping this week.”

Andrew Nicholson brushed off an injured hand following a fall at Highclere to produce a quality performance from an early slot with Avebury. This attractive grey clearly impressed the judges to score 42.8pen for 2nd.

After the test Andrew said: “I’m very pleased with him. His trot work feels a lot more secure. I feel I can pressure him and he is dancing along. The flying changes have always been his weak link, at least now they aren’t late.”

Ireland’s Elizabeth Power burst into the top three with Kilpatrick River from the final group of the day on a score of 43.3pen. An ex-racer who had 22 starts before changing careers, produced a neat, tidy and accurate test with no errors to claim third place at the end of the first day.

“I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Elizabeth. “He has had a great build up to this event and I’m glad he pulled off the test he is capable of doing.”

Other highlights of the day included a consistent “clear round” from Laurence Hunt with Phoebus (45.3pen, 5th), and an impressive performances from 21-year-old Gaby Cooke (46.3pen, 7th) and 20-year-old Tom McEwen (49.3, 11th).

Dressage rider and trainer Anna Ross Davies, who has been providing expert insight through the H&H Live service throughout the day, was impressed with the standard.

“It’s been the highest quality of dressage that I’ve seen at a four-star three-day event,” she said.

Results after dressage day one

  1. Parklane Hawk (William Fox-Pitt) 39.7*
  2. Avebury (Andrew Nicholson) 42.8
  3. Kilpatrick River (Elizabeth Power) 43.3
  4. Apache Sauce (Mary King) 44.8
  5. Phoebus (Laurence Hunt) 45.3
  6. Happy Times (Sam Griffiths) 45.5
  7. Sir Roscoe (Gaby Cooke) 46.3
  8. Neo Du Breuil (Oliver Townend) 46.7
  9. Roma M.L. (Fiona Hobby) 48.0
  10. Comanche (James Robinson) 48.8

Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next week (8 September) for our 10-page special Burghley report including comments from course-designer Mark Phillips, analysis of every phase and the full leader board.