Polly Stockton (pictured) is the current leader after two hours of cross-country action at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Polly and last year’s Burghley runner-up Tom Quigley have put in the only cross-country round inside the time so far, finishing just one second inside the 11min 15sec optimum time.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that perfect at times,” said Polly on Radio Badminton after her round. “I never had to chase him — I just moved him up a gear after the houses [The Lancer Village, fences 23/24/25] as he had plenty left in the tank.”
Hugh Thomas’s course is proving influential — as the riders predicted — with only six clear jumping rounds so far.
William Fox-Pitt went clear, with four time-penalties, on Ballincoola and currently lies second.
“The going certainly was tacky,” said William. “It’s the first time Ballincoola has come back a bit empty on fuel, but he kept jumping.”
Mary King lies third on Apache Sauce, having gone clear as the pathfinder, with Zara Phillips fourth on Glenbuck. Glenbuck looked to tire at the end of the course, but the world champion recorded a clear jumping round on her Badminton cross-country debut.
Faults are well spread round the course so far. Clayton Fredericks, fifth after dressage, fell off at fence 15, the HSBC Hexagon Hedge, where Nullabor refused despite strong riding.
Young British rider Emily Baldwin, who set out in seventh equal place, had a run-out at the duck hides in the middle of The Lake, fence 10, with Drivetime.
Dressage leader Andrew Hoy will be on course with Moon Fleet at 2.32pm.
CURRENT CROSS-COUNTRY RESULTS
1. Tom Quigley (Polly Stockton, GBR) 46.7
2. Ballincoola (William Fox-Pitt, GBR) 48.1
3. Apache Sauce (Mary King, GBR) 56.5
4. Glenbuck (Zara Phillips, GBR) 57.2
5. Faifax (Rodolphe Scherer, FRA) 70.1
6. Birthday Night (Harry Meade, GBR) 79.4
Keep up to date with twice daily reports from Badminton on www.horseandhound.co.uk and don’t forget to buy H&H next Thursday (8 May) for a 16 page report, with comments from Carl Hester, Ginny Elliot and William Fox-Pitt.