Italian riders pulled out all the stops to lie in equal first with the United States on four penalties in the first round of the final Meydan FEI Nations Cup competition of the series — the Aga Khan Cup — in Dublin.
And with everything to play for Team GB is in joint third place with Germany, on eight penalties.
Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Corlato (pictured) jumped a cracking clear round with each of the other riders — Ben Maher and Robin Hood W, Geoff Billington and Rosinus and Peter Charles and Murkas Pom d’Ami — each gaining four faults.
Team GB will jump fifth of the remaining eight teams in the second round.
The Brits have to finish the competition well ahead of Belgium — who narrowly squeaked into the second round with 16 penalties (joint with France and Ireland) — to avoid the drop into the promotional league.
The other team through to round two is Switzerland in fifth place on 12 penalties.
The second round is due to start at 5.30pm.