Japan's Yoshaki Oiwa outshone a posse of more established stars to take the lead in the individual Olympic Games eventing standings at the conclusion of a stormy dressage session on Sunday.
Oiwa, riding Noonday de Conde, leapt to the top of the pile with a score of 38.10 -- raising his top hat in celebration at the end of his performance at Greenwich Park.
Italian Stefano Brecciaroli, on 38.50, was in second with New Zealand legend Mark Todd, Olympic gold medallist in 1984 and 1988, and last of the 74 competitors to step into the ring, third on 39.10.
The Germans, with three of their riders in the top 10, were in pole in the team competition from Australia with Great Britain placed third and New Zealand and Sweden in a tie for fourth.
Britain were helped by an honourable Olympic debut from Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, with grandfather Prince Philip and mother the Princess Royal, watching from the stands.
For Oiwa, third in the 2010 Asian Games, but only 49th at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, this was a red letter day, and after emerging from the arena he lapped up the applause from the Japanese fans.
The 36-year-old, whose pre-performance superstition involves sprinkling salt over himself and his horse, comes from a sporting family -- his aunt was a Japanese champion figure skater and uncle, a swimming silver medallist at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Phillips, meanwhile, who just scraped into the top 25 with a score of 46.10, was revelling in her first Olympic appearance.
"It's incredible to be selected for the team and to be here at home in London is an amazing feeling and I just want to do my best for the team," said the 2006 world champion.
"The Olympics is the greatest show on Earth and it is incredible to be here and to be competing for my country."
On her horse's performance she added: "This was High Kingdom's second biggest test, after the Burleigh Horse Trials, he's only getting better."
"Although he's inexperienced he's coped with the crowds well. He is a chilled character."
Lying in 15th in the individual classification was a Buddhist monk, Japan's Kenki Sato, who scored 40.20 with Chippieh.
He commented: "It is really special I am sure I am the first monk to be an Olympic rider but I am not so prefect a monk and not so perfect a rider.
"Every morning I close my eyes and think of getting better."
After Saturday's sunshine came the storm, leaving one competitor positively fuming.
Todd's veteran teammate Andrew Nicholson was made to wait for 10 minutes by the judges as the arena was hit by heavy rain and lightning.
"They didn't mind the thunder and the lightning and the rain earlier, and then suddenly it's a 10-minute delay," said the Kiwi.
"It was a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. I thought the British were meant to be sporting people. I'm serious."
Britain's Tina Cook was in the middle of her routine when the roof on one of the judge's wooden huts came loose in the wind.
She commented: "When the judge's roof went up I was a bit worried and there was some muttering from the crowd because they didn't like the weather, but it was okay because he kept focussed and I was able to keep a lid on things."
The eventing continues on Monday with the cross country for which organisers are forecasting a 50,000 crowd, with the competition concluding in the show jumping ring on Tuesday.