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Matthew Grayling leads after dressage at Mitavite CIC-W***
Te Awamutu, New Zealand

Matthew Grayling has made a good start in his attempt to win three World Cup qualifiers in a row. The Taranaki dairy farmer holds the overnight lead after Good Friday's dressage at Kihikihi Domain, riding last year's winner, the Montgomery family's NRM Gordon.

Grayling and NRM Gordon scored 46.7 penalties, comfortably clear of Cantabrian Annabel Wigley and Black Drum on 51.5, with Aucklander Anne-Marie Johns and South Carolina third on 53.5, and Emily Butcher, also from Canterbury, fourth with Southern Ben on 54.4.

Scratchings have reduced the field to eleven starters, all of whom will be challenged by Saturday's cross-country, which is, according to visiting Australian judge and former Olympian Gillian Rolton, "tough, and right up there" as it should be for a World Cup qualifier. John Nicholson's fences are imaginative as always, beautifully built and presented, and as Rolton remarked, "technically sound as well."

Placings after dressage:
M.Grayling (New Plymouth), NRM Gordon, 46.7, 1; A.Wigley (Christchurch), 51.5, 2; A-M.Johns (Auckland), South Carolina, 53.5, 3; E.Butcher (Christchurch), Southern Ben, 54.4, 4; C.Johnstone (Outram), Oakley Vision, 58.7, 5; K.Van Tuyl (Woodville), Underhand, 60.7, 6

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