It’s all change at the top end of the leaderboard at Luhmühlen horse trials CCI**** following an action-packed day of cross-country in Germany.

Andrew Nicholson and Mr Cruise Control have edged into the lead following a flawless clear, but they have no room for error tomorrow as Zara Phillips and High Kingdom are only 1.7pen behind.

“Mr Cruise Control is a very experienced horse and it was a pleasure riding him today,” said Andrew. “He is capable of showjumping clear. I would like the other riders to give me one or two in hand, but what will be will be.”

The sun was shining when Zara set out late in the afternoon but she returned in pouring rain.

“It was interesting having to cope with the sudden change in weather — luckily I’m used to it,” she said with a wry smile.

Australia’s Kevin McNab lies third on Clifton Pinot while compatriot Andrew Hoy is fourth with Rutherglen.

“I took a couple of long routes, but Pinot gallops well and I knew he could make up the time,” said Kevin.

William Fox-Pitt is the second best-placed Brit in fifth (Neuf Des Coeurs) and seventh (Lionheart). Andrew Nicholson occupies sixth with Rathmoyle King.

Only eight riders, including the top three, recorded completely penalty-free rounds. There were 47 starters and 13 horses failed to complete.

Dressage leader Ingrid Klimke retired when Tabasco TSF refused at a white boat while exiting the first water, the DHL Paket Komplex (4). Dirk Schrade pulled up Edino here for the same reason.

Lucinda Fredericks and Flying Finish have dropped from second to 11th after picking up 19.6 time penalties.

“The plan was to regain my confidence [after her fall at Tweseldown]. We’re both short of fitness work and sometimes you have to forfeit one win for the bigger picture,” she said.

“Problems were well spread out,” said course-designer Mark Phillips. “Everyone thought it was a true four-star track and the riders respected it.”

Sadly P’tite Bombe, the ride of Frenchman Emeric George, was put down after falling at a brush fence in the HSBC Complex (12).

Results on www.luhmuehlen.de