The New Zealander piloted Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall’s and his own Xavier Faer to a score of 24.3 to slot into second place behind Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class, who retain the lead they held overnight.
“I’m so pleased with ‘Hugo’,” said Tim. “He’s a cross-country machine – that’s why he’s here – but he’s been improving on the flat. The more I put into him, the better he gets. He’s been doing five-stars for a while and continues to improve, which shows how sincere and genuine he is. This was his best test by three or four marks so I couldn’t be more pleased with him.”
The 15-year-old Xavier Faer has been in the top three at five-star three times, including finishing second at Kentucky Three-Day Event this spring, but is yet to win at the top level.
The USA’s Boyd Martin has claimed third place ahead of tomorrow’s cross-country, riding the Turners’ and his own 15-year-old British-bred mare On Cue – another who did well at Kentucky, finishing fourth – to a score of 25.
“I was pretty happy with her, she went in there and did a good test,” said Boyd. “I love this horse – she’s flamboyant, extravagant, a real lady. I’m thrilled to be riding her this weekend.”
Britain’s Harry Meade has popped into 10th on a score of 29.1 after his Maryland 5 Star dressage with Mandy Gray and his own’s Superstition, which whom he finished fifth at Kentucky in the spring.
Superstition was blowing his nose in the initial trotwork, which can be a sign of tension, but showed super activity and elevation. He looked very hot in the canter and Harry was skilful in his riding to keep a lid on him and pull in the marks, which only dipped significantly when he couldn’t pull off the final flying change.
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