First-timer Michael Jung of Germany lived up to his reputation to maintain the lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials aboard Fischerrocana FST.
The duo scored 34.2 during Thursday’s dressage, a mark that was equalled on Friday by William Fox-Pitt and Fernhill Pimms on Friday.
For a man with such an impressive resumé Jung has never competed at Burghley before but looked every bit at home on day one with three riders going below the 40-barrier.
Jung also rode his London gold medalist La Biosthetique Sam into equal seventh place on Friday.
He admits it is a dream come true to finally make his debut in Lincolnshire but knows there is still plenty of work left to do if he wants to be on top at Sunday’s conclusion.
“Burghley has a great tradition and I would watch it all the time on television and my dream has always been to come to Burghley,” he said.
“I have a few good horses at the moment and while one horse will go to the European Championships in Scotland I think it’s the best way to do Burghley this year.
“Burghley has a big tradition and in England this is one of the biggest competitions so every detail is perfect and I think it’s wonderful.”
Saturday’s cross-country is already the talk of the town with the general consensus that it will provide the toughest test in years.
But Jung says he is relishing the challenge and believes it is crucial to get off to a strong start and he looks to make his mark.
“I walked the cross-country course once and will do it again and it seems like a fantastic course that is very big and I think it will be difficult but that’s a four star event,” he added.
“I think it is a good start for the horses, very friendly and you get a good feeling and the first water is good so I think we will have a lot of fun.
“I think my horse has had a lot of experience and I think it’s a tough cross country but with a good start we can do well.
“If we get a good feeling we can try to go fast and catch the time but if not then maybe we will have to stay a little bit more quiet.”
The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 3-6) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for more than 50 years.
Reporting: Marios Papaloizou, Sportsbeat
For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk