Nick Skelton and the highly talented Arko III produced a fantastic performance in last night’s third round of the individual Olympic show jumping qualifying competition, which took place under spotlights at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre in Athens.

Robert Smith’s Mr Springfield is showing no signs of being affected by the Athens heat, but was unable to produce a clear round around the demanding course, collecting eight jumping penalties and one time fault.

The water jump proved to be quite a challenge for a number of horses, as well as the “Greek coins” fence, which glittered in silver and gold under the bright floodlights, but not for Arko, who has clearly gained in confidence as the competition has progressed.

After producing his first double clear of the competition, Nick said: “The crowd was fantastic and I’m very happy with our performance. Arko is getting better and better. At the beginning he was looking at the fences, but now he’s feeling very confident.”

Nick remains on a score of six penalties going into the individual final on Friday.