The Land Rover Burghley Cross Country Results provided an unexpected reshuffle in so many ways. Both of the joint leaders had problems on cross country leaving them out of serious contention. Michael Jung’s first ride round Burghley ended under the Lion Bridge when he and FISCHERROCANA FST fell at fence 4. He found the funny side of this by the end of the day and in the press conference later quipped this was “a nice, fast round” when asked about his day.
William Fox-Pitt nearly suffered elimination when he forgot to jump the ‘b’ element at Discovery Valley having taken the fast route. Luckily he managed to turn around without crossing his tracks and jump the fence, but that mistake probably cost him 15 seconds or more.
Michael Jung however made sure his second round on Sam (his triple championship winning horse) was perfect. He just failed to make the optimum time by 2 seconds and found himself back in the lead at the end of the day, just with a different horse.
This left eventing’s power couple, Tim & Jonelle Price to sweep up 2nd & 3rd place respectively. Tim had a somewhat unconventional round with the added complication of carrying a wasp inside his shirt that manage to sting him half way round.
Chris Burton sits in 4th & 5th place with his two rides and just 5 points off the leader. Every year I watch this guy I think he’s the next Andrew Nicholson or William Fox-Pitt. He’s such a classy rider.
I spent some time down at the trout hatchery which was tipped to be the trickiest combination on the course. A number of the more experienced riders took the longer route through here either as part of their plan or as a split sec decision following a less than perfect drop into the water. One of the best ridden direct routes I witnessed was from Sophie Jenman who I believe was having her first run round here. Amazing!
I really felt for Ben Way, who has had an amazing rise up the ranks to 4-star. His horse approached the Rolex combination just a little too gingerly, put in a half-hearted last minute leap at the first rails and chested it, breaking the pins and catapulting Ben out the front door. Both seems to get up straight away so hopefully their pride is the only thing smarting.
William Fox-Pitt wasn’t the only one to forget a fence at Discovery Valley. Shortly before poor Kirsti Short missed the same fence, but forget to return, and was subsequently eliminated.
The Maltings 360 is just one huge waste of time, and I don’t mean that necessarily in a negative way, but I guess it must be one of the one of the key fences for influencing the optimum time. It’s such an expansive area with opportunity to either waste time or make up time by shaving out a few strides here and there. The Big white rails provide some great photos:
The Lion Bridge fence (fence 4) was probably the most photogenic, and popular – the crowds were overwhelming there. With the house in the background, a landrover in the foreground and some water to provide a reflection, it was a photographers’ favourite too. The early togs were rewarded too with a ducking for the leader Michael Jung. I managed to snap my HorseHub co-founder, Paul Tapner, here on his lovely grey horse, Kilronan.
Quote of the day, has to go to course designer Mark Phillips. In the press conference someone asked about the bounce out of water at fence 6, and whether he thought it worked. In his reply he explained “those that rode a forward stride provided a great ‘picture'”. But his punchline was:
“But don’t come to Burghley if you’re going to ride backwards”
This year the course ran in the reverse direction for the first time, and Mark expects it will probably stay this way for a year or two, if for no other reason than the costs of switching back and forth.
Riding round Burghley is definitely only for the brave and bold. The rest of us just need to turn up and enjoy it.
I love Burghley, and a huge thanks to the Burghley press team, organisers, and most importantly the army of volunteers that make these events work as well as they do. If you’re going tomorrow have a great day, it’s sure to be a cracking day of sunshine and top class competition. I’ll leave you with a few more photos and the important links.
Here are the important links for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2015:
Get yourself there if you can!