Riding Sally-Anne Egginton’s Cillnabradden Evo (pictured), the pair posted a virtually faultless test to score 22.7. This is the first four-star for this 12-year-old gelding by Creevagh Ferro, who was previously campaigned by Andrew Nicholson.
The ground jury of Nathalie Carriere, Katrin Eichinger-Kniely and Christina Klinspor awarded the pair no less than six nines, with two of them coming for their final halt.
Fellow Brit Ros Canter is 1.4 penalties behind in second with a score of 24.1. Riding her own 14-year-old Zenshera, Ros was delighted with this gelding, who was seventh here last year and third at Luhmühlen in June.
“Up until a couple of years ago he could get very tense in the dressage,” explained Ros. “But he’s settled down now and this was the first time I got all of the flying-changes as I wanted them at this level with him.”
Germany’s Andreas Ostholt put in an accurate and pleasing test with the 10-year-old mare Corvette to sit in third. Clearly over the moon with their performance, Andreas was rewarded with a score of 25.
New Zealand’s Tim Price is fourth with another mare, Ascona M. The grey 10-year-old, owned by Suzanne Houchin, Lucy and Ben Sangster and Sir Peter Vela, scored 25.3.
“I’m so happy with her,” said Tim. “She’s had her foibles in the past where she can be a bit mare-ish in the arena, but we had it all under control today, and the mistakes she made were through a genuine lack of experience rather than misbehaving. She jogged in the walk, but that was my fault for giving her a bit of a kick.”
Twenty-three-year-old Frenchman Thibault Fournier is in fifth with Siniani De Lathus on 25.5, with British rider Flora Harris sixth on Bayano with 27.4.
Just 6.8 penalties separate the top 10, with Izzy Taylor (Be Touchable), Hallie Coon (Celien) and Jesse Campbell (Cleveland) in seventh and equal eighth respectively.
The cross-country gets underway tomorrow at 1.30pm (12.30pm BST).
Keep up-to-date with all the latest news and reports from Pau via horseandhound.co.uk, and don’t miss the full report in next week’s magazine (1 November)