Riding Andrew Cawthray’s Note Worthy, Oliver scored 38.7 to take pole position in the CIC3*.
Bill Levett is second on 39.2 with Shannondale Titan, and Brazilian rider Marcio Jorge is third on Lissy Mac Wayer with a mark of 40.
“He did a clear round in his test, but I still think there’s more to come from him,” said Oliver, who won the Smith & Williamson British Intermediate Championships on the horse in 2015.
Oliver scored a fourth victory in the intermediate championships today with Angela Hislop’s Khoi Traveller, an American ex-racehorse.
The pair were only 29th after dressage with a score of 33.3, but the jumping phases were particularly influential today and, despite a pole down in the showjumping, they rose 11 places to start the cross-country in 18th place.
The time round Mark Phillips’ cross-country track is always tight, and Oliver was the fastest of the class with just 4.4 time-faults to secure the victory.
“Speed’s a big thing at Gatcombe and he’s got plenty of that,” Oliver observed. “It didn’t feel as though we were going ridiculously quick and he stayed very well – I was impressed with him in all three phases today.”
Matt Heath was second on Hazel Livesey’s Sportsfield Lord Livesey, having led going into cross-country.
“I’m over the moon with him – he just got tired on very soft ground,” said Matt.
Tom McEwen took third on the mare Royal Roxey.
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Ben Hobday won his first Gatcombe title – the Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championships – with his own Shadow Man II, having led from start to finish.
“He’s perfect – everything you could want,” said a delighted Ben. “He’s athletic, intelligent and kind; I do very little on him because everything’s easy.”
William Fox-Pitt took second place with Catherine Witt’s The Graduate, while Hayden Hankey made a welcome return to the eventing ranks with third place on You’ve Got The Lux. Hayden was the fastest of the class across the country with just 3.6 time-faults.
“I didn’t have a single sticky jump – all I have to do on her is see a forward stride,” said Hayden.
Full report from the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 10 August