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Posted on Sep 3, 2018 in Articles

Burghley’s Cross country was a true 4* course , It was all change on the leaderboard!!

Burghley’s Cross country was a true 4* course , It was all change on the leaderboard!!


Above image courtesy of Burghley Horse Trials – All Rights Reserved

The glorious day drew in the crowds to watch a spectacular day of cross country and what a day it was to be!!

After walking the course, a very fun course drive in one of the lovely Land Rovers and a walk out on course with rider Ben Way I was super excited to see how the course rode  and which riders would take direct routes and long routes at certain combinations. Due to the riders we were following going later in the day it gave me a good chance to watch a lot of competitors set out on the course which is set with a stunning backdrop of Burghley House.

What two riders are best to go out on course first for us all to get an idea of how the course would ride, but Mark Todd and Oli Townend with the latter being the pathfinder. Oil was lying third after dressage on his ride MHS KING JOULES  and showed the erst of the riders that the course was certainly going to be possible but time was going to be tough will Oli coming in 26 seconds over the time allowed.

Oil commented

It walked huge and rode bigger!

Mark Todd the New Zealander sowed us once again that he has not lost his touch and rode NZB CAMPINO beautifully around the course making it look effortless taking the direct route at the leaf pit and a longer rout at fence 15 the Rolex combination. Interestingly both Oli and Marks horses took the left hand side route at the Keepers Brushes fence 20ab which was going to set the standard for most of the day the last few fences coming home were very big and the the first brush at the Anniversary Splash proved early on that very fit horses were needed with both Marks and Oli’s horses just struggling slightly whether it was the water behind that caused this I will never know. Mark Todd was also not inside the time being 37 sec over and racking up 14.8 time penalties on to his dressage score.

Mark Commented

There is lots to do, its hard work.

Simon Grieve with Douglas and Lissa Green withdrew their horses before the cross country. Nana Dalton on Elite Syncopation  were the first combination to retire and I believe it was in the woods they pulled up.

Tim Price for NZL on BANGO were next on course and they were lying 16th after dressage well he was the quickest of those who had completed so far coming in 23 seconds over the time! Again his horse bellied the first brush at the anniversary splash as had Oli’s and Marks horses had done.

Louise Harwood and Mr Potts were not to complete due to a run out at the brush is the Trout hatchery then a run out further on where she decided to call it a day.

The next Kiwi on course was the one and only Andrew Nicholson on Jet Set IV and he wasn’t hanging about, he got a very bold jump of the leaf pit and got a lovely jump later in the course at the Cottesmore leap again he took the left route at the Keepers Brushes . Andrew sat tight and gave the horse his head when he din’t give the second hen house at Clarence Court a lot of height, a class piece of riding, which is what we’ve learnt to expect from the master. His horse was full of running at the end of the course and it proved it coming in just a mere 6seconds over the time making his round the fastest so far.

Andrew Commented

Walking it felt big but riding it felt bigger, It was more rugged than what I expected. Jet Set IV was brave, galloped but was naive at times.

The jumps come quick and there is not a lot of let up time

Caroline Powell another rider for New Zealand set out on course taking the long route at the leaf pit. Her ride ON THE BRASH just tripped coming out of the water at the Trout Hatchery but recovered well and was lovely through the Land Rover at the Lake and the Cottesmore leap. They took the long route at Clarence Court and ended up nearly going the crowd as they got tangled in the rope, though they made it home the delay the rope caused 35.6 time penalties to be added.

Caroline said

He just went numb and I lacked steering and he just didn’t turn when I went to

The first of the French riders out on course was Camille Lejeune who completed the course with just 13.6 time penalties to add to their dressage.  Unfortunately the other French riders were not as successful with Pascal Leroy having issue at the Trout Hatchery and retiring then Cedric Lyard suffering a horse fall at number 5 the Discovery Valley both were ok and on feet quickly after landing in the ditch with his ride leaving the front legs at the first part of the combination.

First timer Hector Payne rode a lovely round nice and quiet and his horse Dynasty will have learnt a lot, the horse certainly had plenty of jump left when coming back home on the course and they were only 1.04 seconds over so a combination to watch for the future. Andrew James another first timer fell at the Trout Hatchery and Harry Dzenis retired at the Rolex Combination at fence 15.

Ginny Thompson from New Zealand had a run out at the second element of the Leaf Pit but continued on course and though the horse look to struggle at the step coming out of the water in the trout hatchery they rode the combination well and were on great form through the Maltings at fence 14. They were a little hesiatant through 15  the rolex combination but rode really well to get the distances. Interestingly she followed suit with the other kiwi riders getting a super jump at Cottesmore leap and taking the left hand route through Keepers Brushes and then she recovered well at Clarence Court after the second element to get to the third and final part. 20.4 time was to be added to her dressage score as well as the 20 jumping penalties.

Ludwig Svennerstal  looked to be having a good round up until the the frangible pin went at Fence 15  and retiring before the pardubice at 16. I was surprised to firstly see the pin go as he really didn’t hit it that hard and also to see him pull up

Andrew Nicholson commented

Safety needs to be taken very seriously and riders have to take responsibilty, he will be setting an example

Imogen Murray put in an excellent round and clearly has a fantastic partnership with her ride Ivar Gooden. The horse looked full of running coming home and despite losing a shoe at fence 10 they made the course look easy and finished just 13 seconds over.

Imogen Commented

He was amazing, he loves a big occasion just loves 4star

Julie Tew was a story herself, 18 years ago she had a major tumour growing into her spinal cord and was told not to ride  and has got 90% nerve damage in both legs. Yet here she was doing her first 4 star and  lying joint 16th with Andrew Nicholson after the dressage. Her ride Simply Sox was lovely out on the course and though they took some long routes they great and they came home safe just 55 sec over the time.

Austrian Rider Katrin Khodden- Harati didn’t complete after having a run out early on at the leaf pit and another at fence 20 the keepers brushes were the horse looked tired and therefore she retired.

Piggy French  last years runner up last year and currently lying 9th after dressage put in a stirling performance coming in just a fraction outside the time adding a mere 1.2 time penalties to her score making her the fastest of the day at that point and putting her in third place after the cross country phase

she stated

she is a fabulous mare, I have to keep her balanced but she’s a game little girl.

Polly Stockton parted company from Mister Maccondy at Discovery Valley fence 5  and both were ok but it was an early finish  for them after last being out at a 4 star back in 2012 . First Timer Sam Ecroyd also had a early finish after to running into problem at the Leaf Pit. Alex Bragg was another to part company from his ride at The Maltings fence 14  and Andreas Dibowski also took a fall at the Rolex Rails.

LRHHT 01 09 2018

Harry Meade – Image credit to Burghley Horse trials – all rights reserved

Harry Meade rode an amazing round they took the direct lines  kept a rhythm and were the best through the Trout Hatchery  a really great piece of riding they just looked so stylish and classy everything seemed smooth and easy and they got tight lines into and through the combinations throughout the course. They along with Ciaran Glynn were ones of very few to take the right handed rout through the keepers brushes !

Showman Harry stated

I was going to do the left option but I chose to go right for the crowd!

Sarah Bullimore who was lying 4th after the dressage had a fantastic cross country round and came home just 19 seconds over the clock which put them into 6th place . Georgie Spence who was tenth after dressage dropped to 16th when she had time penalties to add to her score and I have to say her horse came home with plenty of energy which was nice to see.

Willa Newton on Chance Remark 24th after dressage had a great cross country round and it pulled her up to 11th place going into the showjumping! Ciaran Glynn was adamant bout jumping the iconic leaf pit and he did himself proud completing with just 7.2 penalties to add.

I haven’t come all this way not to jump the iconic fences such as the Leaf Pit

The Leaf pit caught further riders out including Emily Prangnell  who was emendated there ,Bill Levett retired there , Lydia Hannon and who also gained another 20 penalties later on in the course, Polly Jackson and Abi Boutlon who both retired later on course and Gubby Leech who parted company which his ride. Oli’s second ride Cooley SRS  looked hesitant over the Rolex Rails and gain over the skinny triple rails after boldly dropping off the leaf pit , but then seemed to settle. He gave the gates at Land Rover at the lake a good rattle but came home with just ten time penalties to add.

Tina Cook was to be the first rider in the time!! Star Witness with plenty of thoroughbred and the horse back off slightly in the arena at fence 4 and Tina had to be on the horses case but she did this nicely and quietly  and got some super jumps despite a bit of an ambiguos shot in to the Collyweston Slate Mine fence at 24.

Tina reports

It rode much as I expected, the crowds were amazing. You are fairly out of control coming off that leaf pit!

Elizabeth Power must be super ecstatic with Soladoun on their four star debut to not only take a long route at the trout hatchery  but to come home with 8secs to spare on the clock making her the second rider to go in the time and moving her up 30 places on the leader board from 37th to 7th! Probably not a coincidence that the two horses that made it in the time allowed are two of the fastest horses on the circuit and are both from racing family with a lot of blood.

Power claims

I was riding out at Alan Kings and I got him when he was 4yo from there. We were going from the word go and he’s had to dig deep. This is all I have ever dreamed of

Pippa Funnell the first ever rider to win the Grand Slam  and a super ride and saw a flyer at Cottesmore leap she rode a really polished round and gave Majas Hope confidence for his first 4star and amazingly came in just 12 seconds over the time moving her from 40th after dressage to 14th!

Pippa commented

He attacked the course and gave me confidence and I am hugely excited. I wonder why I do it then I see Toddy and Nicholson -the old decrepit people do it and think oh god!!

Dan Jocelyn another Kiwi Rider  who first competed at Burghley and was 3rd on Silence in 98 had to work hard to get Dassett Cool Touch round but they managed it despite having a frangible pin at fence 15 and they came in 37 sec over the time . His ride looked sticky in places and unsure through discovery valley and later in the course the horse looked tired  as they struggled through Clarence Court but he rode the horse really well and they came home safe and well.

So with the four main riders left to go, Oli on his third ride Ballaghmore class 5th  after dressage, Andrew Nicholson on Swallow Springs 16th after dressage ,

Timprice and Ringwood Sky Boy second after dressage and Toddy on Kiltubrid Rhapsody the overnight leader the game was on!

Toddy was first out and they set off the horse had a lovely expression on his face  and they jumped the first couple of combinations really well then Toddy showed us his amazing ability when he very nearly got unseated on the landing as they dropped off the leaf pit then had to work hard to get the horse to and over the triple bars- totally amazing piece of riding but then they came to grief just further along the course at fence tenth Gurkha Kukri. This opened the door for Tim Price and Oli Townend.

LRHHT 01 09 2018

Image courtesy of Burghley Horse Trials – all rights reserved

Tim was next out and lying on a dressage of 27.3 he needed a clear to keep the lead and well if I have to say it was a brilliant piece of riding there didn’t appear to be a sense of urgency they just kept galloping and jumping and Tim sat ever so quietly and the horse was just playing with the fences it was a seriously smooth quiet ride and sympathetic to the horse a pleasure to watch. Amazingly they came home and looked like they would make it but actually were 1 second over the time but that put them in the lead and they couldn’t be overtaken.

Nicholson was the final Kiwi to go out and it was another text book ride from the master he again looked harmonious with his ride, this is something I have noticed about the Price’s, Toddy and Nicholson their style and their partnership with the horses are just incredible they really are as one. Something for all riders to aspire to.  Andrew certainly was not hanging around out there and came home with 6.5 seconds to spare! Making him the third rider to go within the time so another good day at the office as that moved him from 16th after the dressage to 5th

Andrew said

He’ young but classy and very fast, little like Avebury. He can be a bit cheeky


Oli was the last rider of the day on the winner of Burghley in 2017 and not only did her go clear but he made it a fourth horse and rider combination to make the time and came in 8sec under so Oli had three horses all clear at Burghley and sitting 2nd, 10th and 13th


So Tim Price was the new overnight leader with Oli in second and Piggy French in 3rd


I am guessing that the showjumping will be another good test and could see the leaderboard change once again!!

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