FRANCE'S Thomas Carlile and Upsilon lead the field after the dressage phase in the third leg of the Event Rider Masters at the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials today.

The duo produced a stunning mark of 30.9 to set a new ERM record dressage mark to lead from Marlborough-based New Zealanders Andrew Nicholson and Jesse Campbell.

Carlile said: “He is a very special horse with so much power and he just delivers that bit of extra spark when he has to, seducing the dressage judges and his fans.

"He’s such a team mate and a modern event horse and we will need to jump clear in the show jumping and be fast tomorrow on cross country if we are to win, but he is up to that and I will enjoy the pressure”.

Several personal best performances were produced from the 40-strong field of horses and riders, with Nicholson and his 2017 Badminton-winning hero Nereo scoring 34.9, with Nicholson seeking to defend the ERM title he won at Barbury last year and win a sixth consecutive CIC*** title at Barbury.

“I think it might have helped us going after Upsilon’s beautiful test”, Nicholson said. “It made me and Nereo raise our game. Yes there was pressure, but that’s why we compete at this level”.

Despite making an error of course in his dressage Campbell, riding the former racehorse Kaapachino, delivered a lovely test scoring 36.1.

“He was super. It’s always nice to perform well at your local event, as we are based just over the hill from Barbury,'' said Campbell.

"He is a very experienced horse and good thoroughbreds tend to give you their hearts, and that’s what he’s done for me today”.

The £50,000 third leg of the Event Rider Masters series continues on Sunday with the showjumping and cross country.

The top 20-ranked riders will run cross country in reverse order.

In the CIC*** section B, Great Britain veteran Kristina Cook leads by just 0.3 of a penalty from national teammate William Fox-Pitt and Clifton Signature.

A trio of Wiltshire riders are next, with Marlborough-based New Zealander Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy third, followed by Lower Stanton St Quintin-based British Olympic rider Kitty King and Vendredi Biats and Nicholson, on Swallow Springs.

Elsewhere, British rider Emily King scored her first international win, taking the two-star section D on Jane Del Missier’s 13-year-old mare Walitze F Vejgard.

The 21 year old said: "It’s nice when your luck turns.

"Walitze is really good at this two-star level. She’s quite a sharp mare, has an amazing gallop and moves like a dressage horse.''

There were more celebrations when Emily’s boyfriend, Sam Ecroyd, captured section E on The Quiet Man, an eight-year-old by Quiet Edition.

Ecroyd has had the gelding since he was purchased as a three-year-old at Brightwell’s sale at Addington and said: "This is the best he’s ever felt – he just cruised round.''

American rider Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp won section C on the Dutch-bred Deniro Z.

She bought the nine-year-old from Sussex-based rider Francis Whittington as a horse to sell, but is now excited by Deniro’s potential and has managed to get a syndicate together to buy the nine-year-old.

Only a handful of riders achieved the optimum time over Mark Phillips’s course and Halliday-Sharp was the only one in her section.

"I think he’s a real four-star horse,'' she said.

"He gallops and is brave. The cross-country course rode really nicely, but you have to commit to get the time.’

The showjumping and cross country ERM phases can be viewed live at

A highlights programme will be aired across global TV channels from Thursday, July 13, including Sky Sports in the UK at 7pm.