Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW scored 38.9 as the final pair to go before the lunch break to hold the current lead in the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on the first day of dressage.
First place is familiar territory for this pair here at Burghley. Michael and Sam have competed at the fabled four-star just one other time during their storied partnership together, adding just 0.8 cross country time penalties to their dressage score to win in 2015 on 40.0.
Michael admitted after their test today that it was not a mistake-free performance. “In the canter for the flying change, for example, I did not get him enough in front of my leg. It was the problem for the changes. He was nice to ride. I’m happy to be here again with him.”
The score of 38.9 today improved on their 2015 score of 39.2, and while it’s off the pace from their four-star personal best of 33.0, it should still position Michael and Sam within striking distance as we look ahead to cross country.
“He’s a very good horse in all three disciplines. He’s strong enough,” Michael said. “I think you need very good management to prepare him for every discipline. The dressage was not really, really perfect, but I hope that I can manage the other two disciplines much better.”
Last year we saw eight tests in the 30s at Burghley, including Chris Burton and Nobilis 18’s record score of 30.2. Andrew Nicholson and Nereo, Caroline Powell and Onwards and Upwards, and Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy all scored in the 30s last year and are also competing in this year’s event, so we have their tests to look forward to across the remaining two days of dressage.
We also have our eight Americans still to come, with Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection leading off for Team USA at 3:10 p.m. BST/10:10 a.m. EST. You can watch live on Burghley’s Facebook page. Click here for a full list of dressage ride times.
USA Thursday dressage times:
- Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection: 3:10 p.m. BST/10:10 a.m. EST
- Andrea Baxter and Indy 500: 3:26 p.m. BST/10:26 a.m. EST
- Mackenna Shea and Landioso: 3:34 p.m. BST/10:34 a.m. EST
- Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack: 3:42 p.m. BST/10:42 p.m. EST
USA Friday dressage times:
- Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie: 10:40 a.m. BST/5:40 a.m. EST
- Lauren Kieffer and Veronica: 10:56 a.m. BST/5:56 a.m. EST
- Lynn Symansky and Donner: 11:48 a.m. BST/6:48 a.m. EST
- Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby: 3:18 p.m. BST/10:18 a.m. EST
Looking to the rest of the lunchtime leaderboard, Paul Tapner and Bonza King of Rouges sit in second place on 46.2, with Tim Price and Xavier Faer in third on 46.5. Willa Newton and Chance Remark are the best placed British combination in fourth on 46.5.
Michael Jung has walked Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross country course once so far, saying he thought “the beginning looks a bit more soft maybe, but there are very big jumps. You have to be very concentrated and fast enough from the beginning for the time.”
Stay tuned for EN’s full course preview featuring commentary and analysis from Jonty Evans, who will be commentating during the BBC ‘s cross country coverage on Saturday. I’m delighted to have EN’s 2017 Blogger Contest winner Tilly Berendt working alongside me here at Burghley to bring you top notch coverage. Be sure to follow her adventures with Chinch on EN’s Instagram.