The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Stamford, Lincolnshire 31 August – 3 September 2017
- Oliver Townend (Ballaghmor Class) GB 45.6
- Piggy French (Vanir Kamira) GB 46.9
- Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul) GB 47.0
- Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) GB 49.1
- Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy) NZ 51.5
- Lynn Symansky (Donner) USA 53.1
- Kristina Cook (Star Witness) GB 53.2
- Andrew Nicholson (Nereo) NZ 57.1
- Izzy Taylor (Trevidden) GB 57.6
- Boyd Martin (Steady Eddie) USA 58.0
Oliver Townend victorious at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
By Lynne Lomax
Oliver Townend proved he remains a class act by winning the prestigious four star Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with the talented but relatively inexperienced Ballaghmor Class.
In a dramatic final which kept a record crowd on the edge of their seats until the very last fence, Oliver beat Piggy French (Vanir Kamira) by just 1.3 penalties with a showjumping round timed to perfection.
With Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul) just 0.1 penalties behind in third place and Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser) only two penalties adrift in fourth place, British Eventing proved it is firmly in ascendency.
Paying tribute to the quirky grey 10 year-old, who has put every member of the yard team on the floor, a visibly emotional Oliver said: “He might be sharp but he’s very special. I’ve had him from the word go and he’s a top class horse. I looked round in the show jumping warm-up arena and I thought I’d rather be on him than on any other horse.”
Piggy French, returning to high level competition after having a baby last year, was equally complimentary about her 12 year-old bay mare: “She was such a good girl and tried really hard through the whole competition.” Gemma Tattersall described her 14 year-old campaigner as ‘incredible’ while Tom McEwen was ‘delighted’ with his very consistent 10 year-old, who jumped immaculately throughout.
Also in the pool of British talent were seventh placed Kristina Cook and the 12 year-old Star Witness, the only combination to finish on their dressage score, and Izzy Taylor and Trevidden, also 12, who produced a rare XC round clear and without time faults but became ‘green’ in the show jumping phase to have three down and eventual ninth place.
Captain Mark Phillips’ cross country course was big, bold and technical, with cleverly positioned fences in the rolling parkland demanding constant concentration and harmony from horse and rider. With 29 clears out of 60 starters, the final result came within a whisker of the 50% clear which Mark was aiming for but only three combinations managed to finish within the time.
Among those to fall foul during the cross country were dressage leader Mark Todd, who was unseated in Discovery Valley after a miscommunication with Leonidas II and Michael Jung, third after dressage, who retired La Biosthetique – Sam FBW after a run-out at the Land Rover Trout Hatchery. Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza fell at the middle element of Storm Doris, a new and imposing challenge of felled tree trunks, while Zara Tindall and High Kingdom were another victim of the Land Rover Trout Hatchery.
However, with just seven unseated riders and two horse falls, the majority of competitors returned unscathed and record crowds enjoyed an excellent day of sport in warm sunshine.
Apart from Shropshire based Oliver Townend, other local riders to successfully complete the course were Alan Nolan and Bronze Flight, also from Shropshire, who took a final 27th placing, and Paul Sims and Glengarnock from Cheshire, placed 33rd. Another Cheshire rider, Dee Hankey, was unlucky to be spun at the pre-showjumping trot-up with Chequers Playboy after recording a respectable 21st place after dressage and clear cross country.
Richard Jeffery’s final showjumping track set on rolling terrain proved influential, with only five combinations jumping clear and within the time. Three combinations in the final five top placings had a fence down, Oliver Townend, Gemma Tattersall and Tim Price, but this only helped to hold spectator anticipation to the last.
As Elizabeth Inman, Director of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials commented: “We’ve had a wonderful four days of sport with a spectacular finale which has been very much enjoyed by our competitors, our sponsors and our visitors. What more could you ask for?”
Be there next year: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2017 August 30 – September 2
For more info visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk