Oliver Townend enjoyed a much better day at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials as he moved up to third after the cross country stage – although William Fox-Pitt dropped down the leaderboard.
Townend, aboard Armada, was down in 12th after the culmination of the dressage while Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero sat second behind overnight leader Jonathan Paget of New Zealand.
But with captain Mark Phillips’ challenging cross-country course making the optimum time impossible to reach for all riders, the order changed considerably ahead of the showjumping finale.
Townend was the second best performer, jumping clear with a 6.8 time penalty with the best round seeing Kiwi Andrew Nicholson, winner at Burghley for the last two years, incur 5.6 to leapfrog Australian Sam Griffiths into top spot.
Burghley now draws to a close with the showjumping, but while in a strong position to push for victory, Townend was not getting carried away with himself.
“Armada is an unbelievable galloper and normally very fast but it shows how tough the course was,” he said. “I kept going as quick as I could.
“Everybody knows Armada is a fantastic cross-country course but with that comes a bit of pressure on yourself because it’s down to you, if you put him in the right places to jump normally he tries to help you out.
“But he’s a tricky horse for showjumping. The best he does is normally two fences down. We always try and do our best though and that’s what we’ll do.”
Meanwhile Fox-Pitt, who won team silver and individual bronze at the World Equestrian Games last week, fell down to sixth after incurring 20.8 time penalties despite going clear.
Izzy Taylor sits once place above him in fifth with Kbis Briarlands Matilda while eighth-placed Gemma Tattersall completes the British contingent in the top ten with Arctic Soul.