Germany's Michael Jung was again on top of the leaderboard at the Rolex three-day event after the cross country in Kentucky.
In the cross-country, he added just 1.6 time penalties to his dressage score to lead with FischerRocana FST with a score of 38.7. He has a rail in hand over France's Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers in second (44.6) and England's Zara Tindall and the Irish-bred High Kingdom in third (46.6).
Aftr the trot up today, 39 horses moved on to the final show juming phase. (Begins at 6pm Irish time)
The dual Olympic champion, Jung admitted cross country day at the Rolex was a tough one with Derek di Grazia’s track posing a serious challenge.
However, the German maestro survived a precarious moment when his little mare made an enormous leap into the lake.
“Today was not our best ride, but we have a true partnership and kept fighting,’ said Jung. ‘FischerRocana looks very well after the finish - she is a tough girl!”
Top Irish rider is Tim Bourke on Luckaun Quality, bred by Ronan Sheehan, who is in ninth place after he came home fastest cross country and stayed on his dressage score of 57.2 moving up from 41st place after dressage.
In second place is Frenchman Maxime Livio, current leader of the FEI Classic after his win in Pau, who rode a masterful round to finish exactly on the optimum time on Qalao Des Mers to rise from eighth place after dressage to second.
"I am super happy with my horse, who had a super round," said Livio. "He started like he starts every time-fast and strong. I tried not to fight too much at the beginning, but he never wanted to get quiet. But he did exactly what I wanted everywhere.
The leaderboard has changed dramatically and a brilliant, committed ride by Zara Tindall on High Kingdom, has propelled her from 16th to third place.
"I had a great ride," she said. "I was pretty happy after my dressage and to get through to my cross-country was already better than two years ago! I was happy for the rain last night, the ground was incredible. He loves this phase--he gallops great, he's easy to turn, he's very good at all the combinations and we did what we planned the whole way around. He kept galloping well in the heat - you are always worried and he coped really well. He finished really good too, so hopefully it will be easier for him tomorrow (in show jumping).
Matthew Brown, previously 19th after dressage, has leapt to fourth place on the Irish bred gelding Super Socks BCF and is the highest placed American rider. Brown and Super Socks BCF put in an impressive double-clear round to move into fourth place.
There were 26 clear rounds from the 42 finishers and six within the optimum time. Dressage leaders Clark Montgomery (USA) and Loughan Glen lost their chance of retaining their position with a disappointing refusal at a skinny brush at fence 18a.
Three other riders in contention after dressage also disappeared off the leaderboard: both Kim Severson (USA), third on Cooley Cross Border, and Jessica Phoenix (CAN), fifth on Bentley’s Best, retired after run-outs at corners and Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA), fourth, parted company from Fernhill By Night at the Normandy Bank.
The jumping finale, which starts at 1pm local time (6pm Irish time), is sure to be a tense affair as the magnificent Michael Jung bids to make more history.