Jock Paget is the best of the New Zealand riders after the completion of dressage at the Etoiles de Pau CCI4*, sitting sixth on Clifton Signature with a score of 70.67% for 44pen.
Surprisingly absolutely nobody, double Olympic champion Michael Jung is leading, on the horse who was his first choice for Rio, fischerTakinou. The pair had the only sub-40 score, with 73.78% converting to 39.3pen.
The nine-year-old chestnut, on whom Michael won the European championship title last year, is competing in his first four-star, and Pau is one of the few trophies that Michael has yet to add to his cabinet.
British farrier Alexander Bragg had an excellent performance on Zagreb to sit in second place, on 43pen, with fellow Brit Nicola Wilson third on One Two Many on 43.6.
The veteran Belgian rider Karin Donckers is fifth on Fletcha van’t Verahof, only 0.1 penalty ahead of Jock.
Tim Price, who was the runner-up at Pau in 2015, is 11th, scoring 48pen on Xavier Faer, who is also on four-star debut. The other New Zealander in the field is Caroline Powell, who sits 27th on Flying Finish (52.9pen) and 37th on Spice Sensation (58.4pen).
Christopher Burton (AUS) starts the cross-country action tomorrow when he is first out on course; the recent Burghley winner will be hoping for one of master designer Pierre Michelet’s influential tracks as he scored the disappointing mark of 60.3 on the 17-year-old thoroughbred TS Jamaimo and is lying well down the order in 44th place out of the 49 starters.
The riders say the Olympic designer’s track at Pau will be a challenge; full of twists, turns and changes of camber, plus there is wet weather to contend with. FEI TV is running live coverage of both the cross-country and the show jumping phases at www.feitv.org