Australia’s Shane Rose had the best of the action on Dressage day at the Adelaide CCI**** and goes into tomorrow’s Cross Country holding first and third place, but with the country’s most experienced and talented riders snapping at his heels.

Rose holds the advantage with Elizabeth and Felicity Wischer’s German import, CP Qualified by Quite Capitol. Despite the fact that the 10-year-old was bred for Jumping, he remained totally unfazed by the busy and bustling atmosphere to produce the test of the day for a mark of 39.70.

The supremely fit looking grey gelding’s canter work was a delight to watch and was the winner with both the judges and spectators alike. He is now 5.80 penalties ahead of two-time Adelaide CCI**** winner, Stuart Tinney, who rode John and Jane Pittard’s Daley K gelding, Pluto Mio into second place on 45.50.

Rose is also in third place with Jonnie Walker’s Taurus, the horse that was withdrawn from Australia’s London 2012 Olympic squad at the last minute. The Aries gelding produced a lovely test which Rose thought was his best ever. “Taurus did a good test and I felt he was quite harshly marked”, commented Rose. He received a score of 45.70 for a performance that was considerably better than the test they completed at Adelaide in 2011 for which they received 45.50.

Craig Barrett rode a good test on Keith and Juliette Osborne’s 2012 winner, the Staccato mare, Sandhills Brillaire to be well placed in fourth on 46.80. The four gentlemen of Australian Eventing are closely followed by two super-women of the sport, Christine Bates with her much fancied Stirling Sprite gelding, Adelaide Hill with 48.20, and Sonja Johnson with Nikki Harwood’s super little Thoroughbred, Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison by Made Of Gold, in sixth on 49.50.

Home for the holidays, Christopher Burton made the most of his catch ride aboard Stephanie Pearce’s Thoroughbred, TS Jamaimo, and is now handily placed in seventh on a score of 49.70. Will Enzinger, the horse’s usual rider, was certainly pleased with the test, which he watched on FEI TV from his hospital bed. The four-star Cross Country is quite a demanding ask for the new pairing, but with Burton’s experience and Jamaimo’s forward thinking and Thoroughbred bravery, the outcome could be the surprise result of the event.

Sonja Johnson, first out in the CCI****, holds eighth place on 50.20 with the Bell family’s Australian Stock Horse, Belfast Mojito by Blackwood Mikado. She is closely followed by Katja Weimann aboard her home-bred and produced Melbourne CCI*** winner, BP Flamboyant by Triathlete with 50.30.

New Zealander Donna Smith completes the top 10 with her Taupo CCI *** winner, Balmoral Tangolooma, a thoroughbred by Align on 51.50.

Not surprisingly Rose was delighted with his day’s work. “They’re both very good horses and I’m happy with the way they performed,” he says. Talking about the 6,375m course, he comments: “It’s a busy course and there is a lot to do. Taurus will be comfortable with the cross country questions, all I need to do is a good job. I am hoping CP Qualified will cope with the challenges and I will probably nurse him around the course a little more than Taurus and if I’m in the same position this time tomorrow, I’ll be ecstatic.”

“It is a good course and tough enough,” explains Stuart Tinney. “It’s really jumpable and there are not too many surprises. The good riders will make it look easy, but time is always tight here.”

Adelaide CCI **** Results after Dressage:
1. Shane Rose/CP Qualified (AUS) 39.70
2. Stuart Tinney/Pluto Mio (AUS) 45.50
3. Shane Rose/Taurus (AUS) 45.70
4. Craig Barrett/Sandhills Brillaire (AUS) 46.80
5. Christine Bates/Adelaide Hill (AUS) 48.20
6. Sonja Johnson/Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison (AUS) 49.50
7. Christopher Burton/TS Jamaimo (AUS) 49.70
8. Sonja Johnson/Belfast Mojito (AUS) 50.20
9. Katja Weimann/BP Flamboyant (AUS) 50.30
10. Donna Smith/Balmoral Tangolooma (NZL) 51.50

Full results are available here.