SWINDON-based Sir Mark Todd pulled off a foot-perfect performance to head the Burghley Horse Trials dressage leaderboard ahead of today’s cross country phase.

Todd, on Leonidas II, landed a score of 36.7, putting him ahead of Burghley first-timer Lauren Keiffer from America, who was leading the dressage after lunch.

“He can be quite excitable and fractious in the dressage arena, but I feel this year he’s grown up a lot, and his scores have been getting better and better,” said Todd.

“He went in there and lit up a little but it was good because it gave him that bit of ping in his work. It’s one of the best tests he’s done and I couldn’t pick any obvious mistakes in it.”

Meanwhile, Marlborough-based Kiwi Andrew Nicholson lay fourth overnight with Nereo on a score of 39.5, with fellow New Zealand rider Tim Price, also based in Marlborough, was seventh on Ringwood Sky Boy on a score of 41.3.

Burghley first-timer Libby Seed also impressed as she lies just inside the top 50 with a score of 56.8 on What a Catch II.