Tim Price Retains his Lead at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials.

Tim Price riding Vitali for NZL during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, in the parkland of Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire in the UK on the 30th August to 3 September 2023.
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After a day of the usual thrills and spills at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, despite the shuffling leaderboard beneath him, New Zealand’s Tim Price remains on top.

Adding eight time penalties to his overnight score to lie on 26.7, Tim’s breathing space at the top is somewhat diminished, to leave him without even a fence in hand over Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class going into tomorrow’s show jumping phase. “He’s shown his class again, he didn’t feel like the horse I’ve had around this place last year, but for whatever reason, he just wasn’t really up in front of me and galloping like I’ve become accustomed to with him, but he was jumping was class and he was trying the whole way round for me.”

Tim Price riding Vitali for NZL during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials
Tim Price riding Vitali for NZL during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, in the parkland of Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire in the UK on the 30th August to 3 September 2023.

Maintaining his second position after cross country, Oliver cruised round Derek di Grazia’s challenging track onboard his “hero and horse of a lifetime”, adding just 4.8 time penalties to sit on a second phase score of 29 penalties. “What can you say about him? A freak of nature and you can just rely on him can’t you?” Oliver said of the 16-year-old Irish Sports Horse with a beaming smile, “he didn’t give me the easiest of rides and definitely wasn’t showing his age, he was keen, keen, keen! But he just knows what he’s doing as long as I show him where he’s going, and he does it quite nicely”.

Oliver Townend riding Ballaghmor Class for GBR during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials
Oliver Townend riding Ballaghmor Class for GBR during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, in the parkland of Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire in the UK on the 30th August to 3 September 2023.

Unfortunately Oliver didn’t have the best of experiences on his other two rides here today, suffering from a tack malfunction with Tregilder where a broken rein meant an early finish two thirds of the way around the course, and breaking a frangible pin with joint second placed ride after dressage, Swallow Springs, which saw the end of their competitive chances and Oliver deciding to save him for another day.

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“Both horses are home and in one piece having had a great day – one’s done 7 minutes and one’s done 8 minutes [of galloping across the cross country course] and jogged all the way home with a smile on their faces!” He said with a wry smile. “but hopefully they’ll both reroute [to another 5 star event next month] and we live to fight another day.”

Storming into third place, though with a phenomenal clear inside the time – one of just two throughout the day – Great Britain’s David Doel added nothing to his dressage score of 33.7 with Galileo Nieuwmoed. Breaking into the top three at Burghely for the first time, David was delighted with the Dutch warmblood. “He’s had great 5* form, he galloped so easily across the ground and turned really well. It was probably a little bit of a fiddly course for him and I wasn’t sure how he’d take the twist and turns,” He said of the 12-year-old gelding. “I was slightly disappointed with the dressage mark yesterday as I thought he did one of his better tests, so we were more expecting to be in the top ten somewhere [after cross country] but I’m thrilled to be up here in the top three with these guys.”

David Doel riding Galileo Nieuwmoed for GBR during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials
David Doel riding Galileo Nieuwmoed for GBR during the cross country phase at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, in the parkland of Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire in the UK on the 30th August to 3 September 2023.

The cross country course did provide more than it’s fair share of change ups on the leader board, rewarding bold riding and proving once again that getting the optimum time here at Burghley is always going to be difficult. The only other rider to achieve this was Great Britain’s Wills Oakden who cruised round with the classy cross country machine, Oughterard Cooley to climb up to fourth placed after a 34.9 dressage score saw him halfway down the pack in 27th place.

Another to benefit from a swift round was Ireland’s Sam Watson on the Burghley first-timer, SAP Talisman, who – although not giving Sam the easiest of rides through sheer keenness – stopped the clock just one second over the optimum to finish on a score of 35.8 – enough to trouble the top three if they all have a pole down in tomorrow’s show jumping and Sam can steer the Irish Sports Horse to a clear.

After his second year designing the cross country course here at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, Derek di Grazia was pleased with the overall outcome of the day. “The course was quite different from last year, and when you have changes like that you don’t know going into today how it’s going to shake out. But at the end of the day there was great sport today, some good competition and it was great watching the horses go round.”

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So, providing all horses fly through tomorrow’s horse inspection first thing in the morning, an exciting afternoon of show jumping awaits us! We look forward to bringing you all of the action and another Defender Burghley Horse Trials champion.

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