Robert Smith got the British showjumping team off to a great start in the showjumping competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with a fast clear round in this morning’s speed competition.

Robert lies fifth at the halfway stage of this first leg of the team contest, having ridden Talan to a confident clear to leave all the fences intact in 77.12sec.

Experienced competitor Robert was only brought into the team due to the injury to Tina Fletcher’s ride Hello Sailor, but he said: “I planned and prepared as if I was coming and always thought I was going to get there. Talan is coming off three weeks not doing much, so it’s good to get a good speed round into him.”

Britain’s second rider David McPherson had two fences down with Chamberlain Z, but still finished in a relatively quick time — with 8sec added for the faults, he finished on 83.95sec for 23rd at this stage out of 57.

David said: “I think I probably went a bit beyond what he’s used to doing on day one [in terms of speed], but they were such light miniscule rubs and I think this will set him up well for tomorrow. This is all about the team score — don’t write us off yet just because I’ve had a couple of rails.”

Mario Deslauriers is the current leader on 71.25sec riding Urico. The 1984 World Cup winner used to represent his home country of Canada, but swapped to ride for America this year, having lived in New York for many years, and the home crowd certainly appreciated his efforts this morning.

WEG results

Log on again for more updates on the showjumping at WEG, full report in H&H out 14 October.