Kitty King takes the top spot going into the last phase of the Equi-Trek CCI-L4* class. Putting in a strong cross country performance, she rode clear inside the time on the classy grey Vendredi Biats, owned by Diana Bown, Sally Lloyd-Baker, Sally Eyre and Samantha Wilson, while dressage leaders Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On had a run out on course.

“It’s a great position to be in,” said Kitty, “but obviously tomorrow’s another day and there’s lots to jump in the show jumping ring so we’ve got to make sure they’re all happy and sound for the trot up. As a competitor you always want to be at the top to give you the best chance for the next day.”

Kitty was lucky to avoid the on/off rain showers that were making conditions tricky around Ian Stark’s challenging track, “We stayed dryer than I thought we were going to, when I looked at the forecast this morning I was thinking it was going to be grim, but it held off and we got round in the dry which was a real added bonus.”

Right behind Kitty, separated by only 0.1 of a penalty, is Gemma Tattersall on Jalapeno III, the Chilli Morning-sired chestnut mare. Gemma is on winning form, having taken the CCI-S4* on her other ride Quicklook V today. Completing the top three is Selina Milnes and Iron IV, who added just 1.2 time penalties to sit on 30.4 penalties overnight.

The cross country proved a tough track for the British Horse Feeds CCI-L4* U25 field with just over half of the competitors completing. The leader, 22-year-oldYasmin Ingham, was originally given penalties for jumping the wrong side of a flag for her round aboard Janette Chinn’s Sandman 7 but after an appeal it was taken off and nothing was added to her dressage score of 30.1.

“At the final water, he jumped in nicely but a bit off the skinny, we committed to the three strides, he lept into the air and I think he took the flag with his right hind. I thought nothing of it and had a great round.” The news of the penalties was a real shock to Yasmin and her team, “We put a query in to say I would like it to be reviewed by the ground jury. I rewatched the footage and reread the rules loads of times. He did take the flag so it was 50/50, but today luck was on my side!”

Will Rawlin is in second on a score of 32.9 with V.I.P. Vinnie, an 11 year old gelding by Valentino, who he has owned since he was 4 and brought up the levels. Speaking of their round, “He went very well, he really dug deep around a tough course. It was messy, but sometimes you just have to get over the bloody things inbetween the red and white flags!”

Riding for Ireland, 22-year-old Cathal Daniels has experience beyond his age having competed at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina last year where he won a team silver medal. He showed his skill today, steering Mr and Mrs Kinsella’s Rioghan Rua, his 12 year old WEG ride, with the only clear inside the time to rise 5 places up the leaderboard on 33.7. Cathal jumps tomorrow less than a fence behind the top two and is sure to pile on the pressure.

Listen to interviews with a selection of riders after their rounds today thanks to Cre8 Media.

Full results via