A field of 54 horse and rider combinations came forward to tackle the Kelvin Bywater Voltaire Design sponsored CSI2* Grand Prix class at Bolesworth International Horse Show.
After the first round of showjumping, only nine made it through to the nail-biting jump-off, each in contention for a portion of the €25,000 prize fund.
Casualties in the first round included husband and wife duo, Geoff and Sarah Billington, George Whitaker, Robert Smith, eventer Christopher Burton and Amanda Derbyshire.
Angela Thompson and Fremont VDL were the first pairing to tackle the nine fence course. Their round was quick, setting the time to beat of 37.84 however, unfortunately, the potential of a win slipped further away after a pole rolled to the ground.
Steven Franks and Brutus III were second into the arena, finishing with a clear. The clock time 41.69 gave way for the competition to hot up as each horse and rider afterward battled to stop the clock with a quicker time, riding a clear.
Simon Buckley rode a fast round on Elia, stopping the clock on 38.48 but not before rolling a pole to the ground dashing their chances of a win.
It was Kayleigh Watts and Ninkie de Vy Z who set the arena alight after their quick clear, snatch first place from current leader Stephen Franks.
Laura Robinson and Calmond were next to go picking up four faults and four penalties before passing the finish line, with Jake Saywell and Touch of Chilli racing to the finish with the classes quickest clock time of 37.69 however, the speed and tight turns proved costly as the pairing picked up eight penalties along the way.
Next out who looked set to challenge the current leader (Kayleigh Watts) was a lady known for speed and precision, Nicole Pavitt. However, she retired Gemmarco 16 following a refusal from a tight corner, with a second attempt rolling a pole to the ground.
Mark Armstrong rode a slower round to have two fences down, riding Fabienne, before Richard Barton entered the arena as the last rider of the class. Barton navigated Donata around the course with expert precision only to finish less than a second behind Watts, to take second place.