The British riders were left reeling at the end of the first day’s competition at this year’s British Open Show Jumping Championships, where overseas visitors won every class.

The rout began in the opening Birmingham City Shield two-phase when Dutchman Eric van der Vleuten triumphed on Audi’s Owendel.

Mark Armstrong was the best of the Brits in third place on Rex and the man from Surrey again flew the flag when finishing fifth on Thesaura in the day’s major class, the first phase of the British Open Championship. This was a speed class with seconds added for fences down and no one could get near Swiss maestro Markus Fuchs, who finished 3.5sec clear of his rivals on his mare Granie.

“The plan’s going well so far, but you know what they say about best laid plans,” said Markus afterwards.

Dutchman Leopold van Asten finished second here on VDL Groep Think Twice, just ahead of Ireland’s Jessica Kurten on the impressive Jipey Dark.

Leopold earlier had his own moment in the spotlight when he and VDL Groep Kaid came out top in a 14-horse Midland Masters jump-off. They never wasted an inch to hold off a flying challenge from Ellen Whitaker on Cortaflex Kanselier by almost 1sec.

Read a full report of this class and all the other action from the British Open Show Jumping Championships in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound