Olympic champion and title favourite Michael Jung holds pole position in the Land Rover Burghley Horse trials after day one of the dressage.
German star Jung and his multiple medal-winning ride La Biosthetique-Sam posted a score of 38.9 penalties as he chases a second Burghley victory in three years.
But Great Britain’s Gemma Tattersall, who has already won the British Open crown and Event Rider Masters Series this season, is just 4.1 penalties behind on Arctic Soul in second place, with American Mackenna Shea and Landioso lying third.
Sussex-based Tattersall delivered a cross-country masterclass aboard Arctic Soul when she took Briitsh Open honours at Gatcombe just under four weeks ago, and Jung will be well aware of her threat.
Tattersall, a top-eight finisher at the European Championships in Poland earlier this month, said: “I can’t believe it. That is a personal best for us.
“He was fantastic, so relaxed and with me.
“My main aim was to try and get (a score) in the 40s, so second place behind Michael Jung and Sam, I couldn’t be more chuffed.”
An uncharacteristic mistake by Jung during his test denied him an even better score, but the world number one still provided several moments of brilliance.
“It was not perfect for the flying changes,” Jung said. “But my horse is in very good form and prepared. The cross-country course is very tough, with some very big jumps.”
Dressage continues today for the remainder of a 61-strong field, when starters will include this year’s winning Badminton combination Andrew Nicholson and Nereo, former world champion Zara Tindall on High Kingdom, twice Olympic individual gold medallist Mark Todd with Leonidas II and Britain’s Oliver Townend, riding the richly-promising Ballaghmor Class.
Saturday’s cross-country test is likely to be the pivotal phase in pursuit of a £90,000 top prize, before Sunday’s showjumping finale.