Britain’s Spencer Wilton has gone into the lead at the halfway stage of the grand prix special at the European Dressage Championships in Gothenburg.

Jen Goodman’s Supernova II gave Spencer a much easier ride compared to Wednesday’s grand prix, scoring a brilliant 76.078% to jump to the top of the leaderboard at this early stage. They received 80.1% from Isobel Wessels, judging at K.

Their test featured some beautiful moments, with particularly high scores awarded for their passage and piaffe, although ‘Neville’ did become unsettled during the first pirouette, and an error crept into the following line of one-tempis.

“I’m delighted – to get that mark with a mistake is great, and there’s more we can improve on. He went in and felt like he really tried,” said Spencer, who goes through to tomorrow’s freestyle with the 14-year-old De Niro gelding.

Amazingly, this pair have just one grand prix freestyle under their belts, in Stuttgart in November 2016, when they scored 67.9% — their only mark under 70% in the past 18 months.

“We try to forget about Stuttgart,” laughed Spencer.

‘He was a bit confused by the whole thing’

Emile Faurie’s ride on Lollipop 126 began very well, with early scores trending above 73%, but the 13-year-old gelding’s greenness began to show as the canter work got underway, and mistakes in the changes dropped them to 70.8%.

“The mistakes are unfortunate — he caught me out a bit in the one-times — but he’s only ever done one special before,” commented Emile. “I think he was a bit confused by the whole thing.”

Britain’s Carl Hester is last to go in the special, riding Nip Tuck at 16.15 BST. The standout winner of the grand prix, world number one Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, compete at 15.45 BST.

The top 15 combinations in the special, which has its own set of individual medals, go forward to tomorrow’s freestyle.

Stay up to date with the scores here.

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