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Gemma Tattersall rode an almost perfect dressage test on her Rio Olympic mount Quicklook V to take a commanding lead in the CCI3* at the Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials today (9 June).

“She was a little star,” said Gemma of the 12-year-old mare, who scored 36.7. “When we arrived earlier in the week she was wild, but today she came out and said ‘I’m going to strut’ — she just loves showing off what she’s learnt.”

Gemma has a 2.8 penalty lead going into the cross-country tomorrow over her nearest rival, New Zealander Jesse Campbell.

“Ian Stark has built a serious track,” admitted Gemma. “The distances in the combination are open and we’ll need our brave pants on! I will try to forget I’m in the lead and just get round in a safe and confident way as ‘Pebbles’ needs to get a qualifying result here with future championships in mind.”

Long-time leader, Jesse and his ride Cleveland were the only other combination to break the 40 barrier, scoring 39.5.

“We left a lot of marks out there,” explained Jesse. “He’s usually a firecracker and I had to kick a bit, but I think that might be because he’s maturing. Having said that, if someone had told me at the beginning of the week that we would be second after the dressage at Bramham, I would have been very happy!”

Pippa Funnell and Sandman 7 are in third on a score of 40.6.

“I’m delighted with him,” said Pippa of the horse who has returned to competition this season after they suffered a crashing fall at Withington last year. “Our final halt was a touch crooked but apart from that it was a good test.”

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The cross-country action kicks off at 9.30am tomorrow morning.

Don’t miss the full report from Bramham in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (out 15 June)