New Zealand equestrian Jonathan Paget rode a brilliant clear cross country round to move into third place at the Kentucky three day event in the United States this morning.

Just 32 combinations managed to complete a challenging cross country course and only eight went clear and inside time - with Paget on Clifton Promise and fellow Kiwi Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza both included in that illustrious list.

There was nothing between the top three of the leaderboard, with Great Britain's William Fox-Pitt on 41.3, second-placed Allison Springer (USA) on 43 and Paget on 44.8, as they head into tomorrow's all-important showjumping phase.

Paget was delighted with the efforts of Promise.


"He is an amazing horse - he's a warrior and fast and he just loves his job. It's great to be on him. Hats off to [owner] Frances [Stead] because she really knows how to pick them."

The combination had a perilous moment in the lake, where they nudged a log on the way in and ended up adding an extra stride, but Paget said it was just a matter of regaining momentum.

"It was hard work out there, but great. Promise has pulled up looking fresh and feeling fine."

And Paget has reasons to be optimistic tomorrow, considering Promise is known for his clear showjumping and has taken only three rails in his four star career.

Nicholson and Qwanza's efforts pulled them up from 25th overnight into ninth spot.

Nicholson's other horse Calico Joe retired at the tricky combination ninth fence, while Lucy Jackson and Kilcoltrim Ambassador were eliminated two thirds of the way through after picking up an early 20 penalties at the troublesome fence nine.

The showjumping phase of the prestigious four star event begins in the early hours of tomorrow morning.