A second day of action at Barbury Horse Trials saw the completion of the three-star dressage, writes Nicki Strong.

Contrary to earlier reports that Marlborough-based Andrew Nicholson had planned to withdraw Avebury, the pair were very much there and intent on getting that third consecutive win.

Avebury came out looking a class above and Nicholson produced a relaxed and fluent test from the horse to earn them a 34.8 – just .4 more than last year. At the time of their test they were the only pair to go below 40, and dislodged long time leader Francis Whittington and Easy Target on 42.6. Nicholson will go forward to the showjumping out in front.

Kiwi team-mate Sir Mark Todd rode Badminton debutante Leonidas II late in the day, and the test was worth waiting for. They were awarded 42.6 for equal third at close of play.

Milton Lilbourne’s Lizzie Brown is still right up there with Playtime NZPH –they occupy equal fifth, whilst Tim Price and Ringwood Skyboy are equal ninth. Both of these riders also represent New Zealand.

Elsewhere, the two-star dressage continued and saw Holly Woodhead and Jesse Campbell unable to maintain their lead in section B, as they go forward to the next phase in fourth and fifth respectively. Chippenham’s David Doel claimed the lead riding Miss Caruso with 36.1. A whole host of other local riders occupy the top 20 and remain competitive.

In section D Lucinda Fredericks has a great shout with Mr Sydney Rocks, only marginally behind leader Chris Burton after the dressage. These were the only two to go below the 40 marker.

The Novice sections completed today and saw an Andrew Nicholson win with Sydney Biats, who led from the outset with a 25.5 dressage, followed by a double clear and a well judged cross country round.

As expected Paul Tapner was prominent in the Intermediate Novice Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) class – he won the class aboard Inishmor, who claimed the 2013 Eventing Elite Performance Award for ex-racehorses back in January. They actually won with a fence in hand, and Tapner’s second ride Counterparty finished eighth. The top 10 in the ROR go forward to a final showjumping round on Sunday