Andrew Nicholson (pictured) leads after the first morning of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Andrew scored 39.6 with the experienced 16-year-old Lord Killinghurst. Eric Smiley, the judge at M, awarded him 80%.

“It’s the first time I’ve ridden him at this level on a Thursday, and the stands are quiet with not many people. He felt very relaxed,” said Andrew.

“He knows all the movements now and maybe sometimes I spend too long fiddling about and boring him with dressage and he leaves his best work outside.”

Andrew voiced the general consensus on the course when he said it looks like a true four-star test and that it is particularly intense in the first half.

William Fox-Pitt is second, after scoring 41.4 on Parkmore Ed, the horse he describes as a “boomerang” because owner Philip Adkins sends him back to William sporadically as well as eventing him himself.

“On the flat he’s got more potential than Tamarillo as he’s rideable, tries hard and has good paces,” said William. “I think he’s done well to get 41.4 today though as he did a lousy halt and made a couple of silly mistakes.”

William scored plenty of 8s, with the marks only dropping down when Parkmore Ed broke in the counter canter serpentine, which affected the scores for this movement and the following flying change.

William has not yet walked Mark Phillips’s course, but he admitted he is not sure how Parkmore Ed will go.

“It’s not really today [the dressage] I’m worried about,” he said. “It’s hard for the horse to make adjustments to different riders. He doesn’t jump a lot of fences [with Philip] and he might not here. But I’ve had some brilliant rides on him and he might fly round.”

Lucy Wiegersma is third, having scored 44.8 on Shaabrak, her test marred only by one poor flying change.

“He just had a little trip going into one flying change and fluffed it up, which was frustrating,” she said. “He’s a big, loose-moving horse and sometimes has trouble keeping his legs under control.”

Log back on for another update at the end of the day, and don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next Thursday (6th September) for a full report from Burghley.

RESULTS AT THURSDAY LUNCHTIME

1. Lord Killinghurst (Andrew Nicholson, NZL) 39.6
2. Parkmore Ed (William Fox-Pitt, GB) 41.4
3. Shaabrak (Lucy Wiegersma, GB) 44.8
4. Paris (Piggy French, GB) 47.2
5. Enchanted (Sammi McLeod, AUS) 50.4
6. Task Force (Jan Byyny, USA) 51.2

Click here for full results.