Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia, who were in Aachen last month as part of the Australian eventing squad for the World Equestrian Games but were not called upon to compete, have kept their alternative engagement at the Burghley Horse Trials where they led after yesterday's first day of dressage. Having watched her husband, Clayton Fredericks, finish second to Zara Phillips in Aachen, she is ready to crack on herself.
Fredericks has a 1.5-point advantage over Germany's Bettina Hoy on the skewbald gelding Peaceful Warrior, who went to her Gatcombe yard in February having previously been ridden by Chris King.
Bettina had overtaken her Australian husband, Andrew Hoy, on Mr Pracatan, earlier. This may not be conducive to marital harmony if she maintains the advantage, since Andrew has the chance to win $250,000 (£130,000) in the Rolex Grand Slam if he can add victory here to his wins at Lexington in Kentucky and Badminton. But Andrew's better chance comes with his Badminton victor, Moon Fleet, who will be last into the arena this afternoon.
Lucinda Fredericks was desperately disappointed when Headley Britannia was overlooked at the World Games. "She deserved to have a run in Aachen and I was upset for her, we have a very good relationship," she said. Because Headley Britannia is small, Fredericks is anxious about some of the bigger fences on Mark Phillips' 32-fence cross-country course that she will tackle tomorrow. The wide level crossing barriers jumped uphill at fence nine seem to be her main worry.
Zara Phillips and Toytown will be parading here at noon on Sunday, with the individual gold and team silver medals from Aachen.