Devizes based rider Lucinda Fredericks and her game little chestnut mare Headley Britannia stay at the top of the leaderboard after their cross-country round at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

The pair took several of the longer routes and came home just two seconds outside the optimum time. Despite adding 0.8 time penalties to their leading dressage score, the combination cannot be beaten today and will remain in the lead for tomorrow's show jumping.

"She was just feisty right from the start. The further she went the better she jumped," said an ecstatic Lucinda after her ride. "I wanted to get the feeling of how she was jumping before I made decisions as to which routes I would take. I used the early water jumps as training exercises and by the time we got to the lake she jumped that brilliantly. I didn't have quite the easy ride I had at Burghley as she was strong - she felt as though she could have gone on."

Next week the mare, who is by Jumbo, the same sire as the second placed Henry Tankerville and bred by Mike and Betty Hounsell of the Headley Stud in Berkshire who are at Badminton to watch her, will be going to stud herself for embryo transfer. "She is not retiring - you don't get one like her very often - I love this little horse," said Lucinda who was born in Britain but adopted Australian nationality in 2000 after marriage to Australian rider Clayton Fredericks.

Having won Blenheim three-star and Burghley four-star can Headley Britannia and Lucinda make Badminton their third three-day win?