Law is now hoping that his good test on Haig, who won at Windsor in 1990 before being sidelined for a year with tendon trouble, heralds a change of fortune, since he had cross-country falls in his two three-day events last month.
Law's first mishap was at Punchestown in Ireland, where The Soft Spot misjudged a grass-covered bank and hit it head on. The horse was concussed, but is now fully recovered.
A week later Law had a fall at Windsor with the mare, First Cruise, who was taken to the Royal Veterinary College at Potters Bar where she died as a result of her injuries. 'She was a great mare. It's difficult to pick yourself up and keep going after something like that happens,' Law said.
The marks are close, with only 1.2 penalty points between the top four. Sophie Newman, 22, who was third in the Young Riders Championship here in 1991, is now just 0.6pts behind the leader in the international section, on McRaffles.
Newman is a former pupil of Bramham Park's course designer, Mike Tucker, and his wife, Angela. She won a team gold medal in the 1988 Junior European Championships and was leading after the dressage for the Young Riders European title in 1991.
TOYOTA THREE-DAY EVENT (Bramham Park, Wetherby) Standings after first day of dressage: 1 Haig (L Law) 53.0 penalty points; 2 McRaffles (S Newman) 53.6; 3= Praemonito (J Trevor-Roper) and Maisy Brown (P Muir) 54.2; 5 Park Keeper (K Dixon) 57.4.