America’s Phillip Dutton leads the field at the end of the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Phillip and the 12-year-old American thoroughbred Truluck performed the first test after the afternoon tea break and scored 45.3.

“The test is quite hard for him — he’s still quite green at this level,” said Phillip. “In an atmosphere he does light up and I don’t think he’s walked in a test for about eight months. I didn’t push him too hard in the trot as he’d get more wound up, and the [wet] conditions weren’t conducive to doing a big test anyway.”

Listen to interview with Phillip Dutton

Truluck, who belongs to Ann Jones and Shannon Stimson, was 10th in his first four-star at Kentucky in 2007 and a team gold and individual silver medallist at the Pan Am Games that year, but has also spent a lot of time on “stall rest”.

“I bought him about four years ago off a student of mine, Amy Smith, who had done two-star on him, but he’s had a lot of bad luck and been accident prone,” said Phillip.

J-P Sheffield is best of the British

The morning was characterised by a lot of average tests and some disappointing marks, with Germany’s Kai Ruder taking the lead in the final session before lunch with the first sub-50 score (46.7). He rode Leprince Des Bois, the only stallion in the field, who was eighth in the recent World Cup final in Poland and they ended the day in third place.

There was a rush of good tests in the first session after the lunch break, with constant changes in the top six. J-P Sheffield did best of these — he lies second overnight and best Brit on the 13-year-old Crown Farm Consort, who ran well here across country two years ago but did not trot-up on Sunday.

“He’s had a very short build-up this year because I’ve been off injured with a ruptured groin,” said J-P. “He went to Blair last weekend and did a not very good test in the CIC*** [he was then withdrawn] and we’ve been working on it since then. He was very settled here on Tuesday and yesterday did the best bit of work he’s done for two years.”

Listen to interview with J-P Sheffield

America’s Rebecca Holder had the hard luck story of the day. She went wrong twice in her test with Courageous Comet, but still lies ninth — she must be kicking herself thinking of where she might be lying without the mistakes.

Phillip and J-P both said they think the cross-country will be tough.

“It’s not as massive as in the past, but a genuine, hard four-star,” said Phillip, who finished second here in 2005 and lay second after cross-country last year, but withdrew Woodburn before the final trot-up. “My first impression is that you have to focus on holding a line and the horse has to be in front of the leg and able to jump where you want.”

Daisy Dick is the first rider on tomorrow, riding Spring Along before the ground jury at 9.30am.

RESULTS AFTER FIRST DAY OF DRESSAGE

1. Phillip Dutton on Truluck (USA) 45.3
2. J-P Sheffield on Crown Farm Consort (GB) 46.5
3. Kai Ruder on Leprince Des Bois (GER) 46.7
4=. Kitty Boggis on Boondoggle (GB) 48.3
4=. Sam Griffiths on Happy Times (AUS) 48.3
6. Karen O’Connor on Mandiba (USA) 49.8

Full results and times from Burghley

H&H Editor Lucy Higginson blogs from Burghley today

Replay today’s action and follow the competition live tomorrow with H&H online’s up-to-the-minute written commentary, starting again tomorrow at approximately 9.20am. Visit www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghleylive.

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