Surl makes a big impression

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Philip Surl holds the lead on Coxley Kontiki in the international section of the Brittany Ferries Three-Day Event, providing a good advertisement for the breaking and schooling yard that he runs in Northamptonshire.

At the end of yesterday's first day of dressage, the little-known Surl had a useful advantage of 8.6pts over the French Olympic rider, Didier Seguret, on Newlot. Seguret, a farmer who lives near St Malo, has been a regular member of the senior French team since 1987.

Surl, 28, whose father is a biology teacher at Spalding Grammar School, teamed up with Coxley Kontiki earlier this year. The nine-year-old belies the usual reputation given to chestnut mares by being - according to her rider - "extremely level-headed and always nice to ride in the dressage."

Third place is shared by Graham Law on Folds Whisper and Marie-Louise Thomas on another chestnut mare, Tudor Briar.

Rodney Powell, down in a disappointing 21st place, cannot have been helped by Concorde flying overhead while he was riding his dressage test on Cambrai Apollo.

Seguret, who will retire the 16-year-old Newlot after this event, rides a second horse, Mon Petit, in the dressage this afternoon.

Pippa Funnell, one of the leading home contenders in the international section, will do her test with Designer Tramp this morning.

Cheryl Toombs is leading in the national section, despite incurring a two-point penalty for an "error of course" with Master Blackjack. Katie Meacham, who was last into the arena, moved into second place on Mad Murdoch.

BRITTANY FERRIES THREE-DAY EVENT (Windsor Great Park, Berkshire): International Section: 1 Coxley Kontiki (P Surl, GB) 44.0; 2 Newlot (D Seguret, Fr) 52.6; 3= Folds Whisper (G Law, GB) and Tudor Briar (M-L Thomas, GB) 57.6. National Section: 1 Master Blackjack (C Toombs) 53.0; 2 Mad Murdoch (K Meacham) 55.4; 3 Spring Cabaret (L Kemplay) 57.0.