A switch of disciplines is proving successful for Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto.
The former international showjumper made the move to eventing last season and is leading after the first day of dressage in the competitive CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-olds at the SsangYong Blenheim International Horse Trials with Brookpark Vikenti.
The combination head into Saturday’s showjumping on 40.7 penalties.
Australia’s Christopher Burton holds second place with Cooley Lands on 42.6, with Oliver Townend and Ridire Dorcha best of the Brits in third on 43.4.
Kazuma is based with William Fox-Pitt and paid tribute to the help that the six-time Burghley winner and his support team have given him.
“[Walking the course] William said ‘easy’, but it isn’t to me!” laughed Kazuma.
He admitted he was “very surprised” to be in the lead.
“He was a little bit tense today in the warm up, but he settled down in the test and gave me a very good feeling – he did a good job today,” he added.
Brookpark Vikenti, by Master Imp, was previously partnered successfully by Ireland’s Michael Ryan up to CCI2* level.
Since taking on the ride, Kazuma and Brookpark Vikenti have notched up a number of top-10 placings together at national and international evens, including fifth in the CIC2* at both Burnham Market and Barbury.
Kazuma has three horses to compete this season and his main aim is to qualify for the 2018 World Equestrian Games with a longer-term goal of reaching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound for a full report from Blenheim – out Thursday, 21 September