Michael Jung (GER) slayed the cross country phase at Badminton today. Because that’s what the world number one does.

For the second time in a week, the Olympic gold medalist gave a masterclass in bold, accurate jumping. Riding his veteran partner, La Biosthetique Sam FBW, Jung made short work of a course that caught out 27 of the starters at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in Great Britain.

The Olympic champion now has two fences in hand going into show jumping tomorrow. If When he succeeds, he’ll not only to win Badminton for the first time but also the Rolex Grand Slam. (The elusive title, only once accomplished before, goes to the rider who claims consecutive victories at Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton.)

“Wow,” was the Olympic champion’s initial reaction. “It was an amazing feeling. Sam is so beautiful to ride. I had many options in my head in case I didn’t get a good jump anywhere, but Sam was so powerful and strong and knew what he had to do. I am so proud of him.”

Jung’s teammate, Andreas Ostholt, celebrated his first clear Cross Country at Badminton. He now sits in second on the leaderboard after collecting 5.2 time penalties on So Is Et.

“What a lovely pony,” said Ostholt. “I am not disappointed with my time penalties. I wanted to complete so I went quite steadily to begin with, but the horse was really fresh in the end and I am very happy with my result.”

British rider Gemma Tattersall and the Thoroughbred Arctic Soul finished inside the optimum time of 11 minutes 58 seconds to move up 13 places to third, a career best at CCI4* level.

“He skips over the fences and is like a racehorse to ride,” said the Olympic hopeful.

“I actually laughed after the Vicarage Vee [fence 21] because he was so amazing and then had to remember to concentrate. It’s everyone’s dream to get to an Olympics and I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Sitting in fourth is four-time Badminton winner and dual Olympic gold medalist Sir Mark Todd, who brought the drama at the Shogun Hollow (fence 23). His horse, Leonidas ll, twisted over the second curving brush, unseating Todd. The six-time Olympian managed to recover and galloped on to complete a clear inside the time.

“It was an amazing ride, but I did have a couple of lives,” confessed Todd. “The horse is so brave and does tend to over-jump, but it shows that he wants to do the job. He travelled very easily.”

All told, 48 of the 75 cross country starters finished with 32 clear rounds, 11 of which were inside the optimum time

Catch tomorrow’s excitement on www.feitv.org.