Olympic champion Michael Jung could be in with a chance of winning one of the very few major competitions to elude him this far, the French premier event of Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA).

The Ground Jury, Wayne Quarles (USA), Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Alain James (FRA) awarded the only sub-40 mark, 39.3, for Michael’s performance on FischerTakinou a nine-year-old, by Jaguar Mail. “He is a very talented horse and always good in the dressage – he concentrates just as well whether he is at home or at a competition,” said Michael Jung.

Michael Jung is also in fourth place on the mare FischerRocana FST, a dual Kentucky winner, and will take some beating as he aims to get a head start on the new FEI Classics™ leader board again, where the German riders have headed the sought-after FEI Classics™ rankings for the last two years.

In second place after the dressage is British rider Alexander Bragg, a part time farrier, who rode the test of a lifetime on the 12-year-old Dutch-bred Zagreb, a horse he has produced from one-star level. “My main aim was an accurate test, so I am pretty happy right now!” said Alexander Bragg. “Zagreb is improving on the flat all the time and is more composed in his flying changes.”

Regular visitor to Pau, British rider Nicola Wilson sits in third place on One Two Many on a score of 43.6.

The lower-placed dressage competitors could still be in with a chance of climbing the placings as riders are viewing the Olympic designer’s Pau track as a challenging test. The course is set full of twists, turns and changes of camber, plus the reappearance of the carved fish that proved so influential at the 2014 World Equestrian Games at Haras du Pin.

Results after Dressage

1 Michael Jung/FischerTakinou (GER) 39.3 penalties

2 Alexander Bragg/Zagreb (GBR) 43.0

3 Nicola Wilson/One Two Many (GBR) 43.6

4 Michael Jung/FischerRocana FST (GER) 43.8

5 Karin Donckers/Fletcha van’t Verahof (BEL) 43.9

6 Jock Paget/Clifton Signature (NZL) 44.0

7 Maxime Livio/Qalao des Mers (FRA) 45.3

8 Laura Collett/Pamero 4 (GBR) 45.9

9 Kirsty Johnston/Opposition Detective (GBR) 46.7

10 Boyd Martin/Cracker Jack (GBR) 47.7