We’ve been waiting for this moment for, well, three years to be exact as the famous “Big, Bad Burghley” makes a triumphant return to the British fixture list in 2022 following a Covid-induced hiatus. We’ve enjoyed two days of top quality dressage that featured a whole slew of 5* and FEI personal bests, and we’re left with exactly what the doctor ordered: a tightly bunched, 52-strong field nearly all separated by one refusal or less.
It’s a stamina test for the ages at Burghley, and new designer Derek di Grazia has a shrewd affinity for using the terrain to put riders to a mental test as well as a physical one. All of that to say: buckle in tight, and get ready for the ride!
You can preview Derek’s track, which riders say has them thinking about options, long routes, and whether or not they actually know the alphabet, here. The optimum time is a beefy one: 11 minutes, 20 seconds set across 6460 meters of undulating terrain.
With scores as tightly packed as they are, virtually every ride stands to be near the top of the board when the dust settles today, but below are a handful of notables to earmark, namely the U.S. riders and the top five after dressage. The full cross country order of go can be found here and you can also study up in drawn order using Tilly’s Form Guide here.
- Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135: 11:50 a.m. BST / 6:50 a.m. EST – Eliminated
- Cornelia Dorr and Daytona Beach 8: 12:05 p.m. BST / 7:05 a.m. EST – CLEAR 8.4 time
- Piggy March and Vanir Kamira: 12:35 p.m. BST / 7:35 a.m. EST – CLEAR .4 time
- Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent: 12:40 p.m. BST / 7:40 p.m. EST – 20 jumping, 35.6 time
- Emily Hamel and Corvett: 1:10 p.m. BST / 8:10 a.m. EST – CLEAR, 30.4 time
- Sarah Bullimore and Corouet: 1:15 p.m. BST / 8:15 a.m. EST – 20 penalties, RETIRED
- Tim Price and Vitali: 1:40 p.m. BST / 8:40 a.m. EST – CLEAR, 5.2 time
- Kitty King and Vendredi Biats: 3:10 p.m. BST / 10:10 a.m. EST – 11 penalties, 6.0 time
- Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs: 3:45 p.m. BST / 10:45 a.m. EST – Eliminated
In the meantime, settle in and refresh this page periodically to see the latest updates. I won’t be doing many GIFs of action here, but I encourage you to follow along with these updates as well as live on Burghley TV here. I’m wishing SAFE, clear and fast rounds to all. Let’s get to it!Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 64)
11:33 a.m. EST: A few quick stats: The course today saw a 60.8% completion rate with 31 of 51 starters finishing. Of those 31 finishers, 24 were clear with time. Just one, Jonelle Price and Classic Moet, made the time. The fence report is not viewable in full right now, but no doubt the corner coming out of the Holland Cooper Leaf Pit, the corner in the water at the Trout Hatchery, and the Fairfax & Favor Boot Racks come to mind as particularly influential questions.
11:16 a.m. EST: Tom speaks very pragmatically about his pin and the course. “It’s a five-star-plus,” he describes. “It’s a true test of relationship for horse and rider.” He observes that many riders made smart decisions to call it not their day, while others such as Piggy made it look “like a Pony Club course” — indeed the type of separation you look for at these top levels.
11:15 a.m. EST: So here is your top 10 following a very exciting and influential cross country. At this time I’ve heard nothing in terms of injuries to horses or riders, which is always great news. I’ll drop in a few more notes and thoughts before I wrap up, but thank you for following along with me all morning! Full scores can be found here.
11:13 a.m. EST: Here’s a look at Tom and CHF Cooliser’s pin:
11:10 a.m. EST: Well lots to catch up on here: Tom had the front pin of the Fairfax & Favor Boot Racks’ second oxer, picking up 11 penalties there. Meanwhile, Oliver’s weekend is over as he and Swallow Springs fall at the corner in the water at the Trout Hatchery — they both appear to be fine. That means Tom has the track to himself and will be the last one.
11:06 a.m. EST: Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua did not hang about but still pick up 30 seconds of time. Oliver leaves about 3 strides away from the out of the Leaf Pit with a bold Swallow Springs. Tom works hard through the Defender at the Dairy Farm and climb over the final log but are through.
11:04 a.m. EST: And our last of the day, Oliver and Swallow Springs, are now on course. They can’t quite catch Piggy for the lead, but they can hang on to second.
11:01 a.m. EST: 9.8 time for Pippa and Majas Hope, who finish a cracking and gutsy round.
11:00 a.m. EST: We’ve just got two more to see, and the first of those is Tom McEwen and CHF Cooliser.
10:58 a.m. EST: Oooo! Pippa uses every ounce of her experience to squeeze through the Defender at the Dairy Farm question.
10:57 a.m. EST: Also on course and straight as an arrow through the Leaf Pit are Cathal Daniels and Rigohan Rua.
10:56 a.m. EST: Ros will be no worse than fifth tonight as she comes home with just about 30 seconds of time. Pippa takes a flag at the Maltings Corners but is clear through.
10:52 a.m. EST: Pippa is really kicking on with Majas Hope as Ros navigates the Defender at the Dairy Farm question and thinks about home.
10:50 a.m. EST: Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope are away and Ros is clear through 12 with Pencos Crown Jewel.
10:47 a.m. EST: Emma Hyslop-Webb and Darrant have called it a day after Darrant ground to a halt in front of the first Fairfax & Favor Boot Rack where Kitty just had her pin. Emma has opted to retire here, and she had been really having to work to get around so I think she’ll have made the right call here.
10:45 a.m. EST: Here’s a look at the save Kitty and Vendredi Biats made at the Fairfax & Favor Boot Racks. I’m sure “Froggy” doesn’t even realize he had the pin, but it did what it was created to do:
10:44 a.m. EST: So this means Vanir Kamira cannot be beaten for the lead tonight as we have just a handful of pairs left to see. Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel could stay near the top with a clear and fast round, and they’re away now.
10:37 a.m. EST: Oh my gosh! Kitty nearly falls victim to the oxer at the top of the track, similar to Sammi and Susie, but they keep their feet. They will pick up 11 penalties here as the frangible pin does its job, which will knock her from the lead.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 62)
10:41 a.m. EST: Well Kitty finishes 15 seconds over and carrying that 11, but wow what a stellar round for this pair. This won’t be the last we see of them to be sure.
10:36 a.m. EST: Through the Dairy Mound question at 18. Going long at the Leaf Pit are Emma Hyslop-Webb and Darrant.
10:34 a.m. EST: Nearly flawless through the Trout Hatchery for Kitty and Vendredi Biats.
10:32 a.m. EST: Kitty rides smart and gutsy through the Leaf Pit — she means business.
10:30 a.m. EST: Looks like Phil is aiming to get home on his debut, opting for a lot of long routes so far — that’s what those are there for, and Derek’s long routes are, again, among those that won’t sap your energy quite so much.
10:29 a.m. EST: Anddddd here we go: overnight leaders Kitty King and Vendredi Biats are away. Can they do it?
10:27 a.m. EST: Sarah Clark and Balou Jeanz have made it home about a minute over — what an accomplishment for this scrappy pair! Phil shouts for the long route at the Leaf Pit.
10:25 a.m. EST: I seem to have missed it, but Richard Skelt and Credo III have retired at the Leaf Pit. Phil Brown and Harry Robinson are also underway and our Aussie rider Sarah is still scrapping her way around and is getting close to home.
10:23 a.m. EST: While I’m sharing opinions, I also would like to see the commentators speak more on the subject of safety when horses are stopped, rather than only sympathizing that the rider does not get to finish or speculating that they would have finished.
10:21 a.m. EST: Looks like Rosie and Balladeer Humbel Guy have been flagged. I think this is the Ground Jury opting to stop a clearly tired pair. This is not meant to be personal, but I really appreciate this decision. No one wants to be pulled up, and yes riders are capable of nursing horses home, but the Ground Jury retains the right to do this and I frankly don’t feel it happens enough.
10:19 a.m. EST: Rosie is going to have trouble nursing Balladeer Humbel Guy home. He stumble-banks the Voltaire Design Bank and they’ve still got a healthy handful of questions left between now and home.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 64)
10:17 a.m. EST: YAS girl, Sarah is going for it in what will be the biggest challenge she and Balou Jeanz have seen, making the direct out of the Leaf Pit happen. Rosie Thomas and Balladeer Humbel Guy sort of feel their way through the Defender at the Dairy Farm question and almost come to grief at the Cottesmore Leap but somehow save it!
10:13 a.m. EST: Tom impresses yet again with another clear round and just nine seconds accumulated on cross country with the stunning Capels Hollow Drift. He’ll be on a 32.5 with 9 seconds added. Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz, all the way over from Australia, are our latest starters.
10:12 a.m. EST: Tom Jackson is quite close to the time as he heads for home — can he be the second inside?
10:09 a.m. EST: Just 10 more to see with the withdrawal of Tim Price’s third ride, Polystar. Tim explained earlier that with the horse being older (17) and not in a very competitive position after dressage, he didn’t feel it was the best day to give it a go.
10:07 a.m. EST We’re back underway as Tom Jackson is restarted. Rosie Thomas and Balladeer Humbel Guy will be the next to see.
10:06 a.m. EST: I’ve just looked at scores and it looks like both Susie and Sammi have been given Horse Falls (Susie was originally given a Rider Fall).
10:03 a.m. EST: They’re going to hold Tom now as they tend to Sammi, Finduss and the fence they fell at (both horse and rider appear to be fine).
10:01 a.m. EST: Ah! Sammi and Finduss PFB are the latest to fall victim to the big Fairfax & Favor Boot Racks, so that will be the end of their day. A very similar fall to Susie and Ringwood LB’s.
10:00 a.m. EST: Helen Wilson and My Ernie finish a gutsy round and are home clear! We’re also joined by Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift, who have a bold ride through the Leaf Pit that should give them a good feeling as they continue on.
9:58 a.m. EST: Bubby says she actually watched her Badminton round before going out today. “It’s both of our Burghley debuts, so I had no idea how he was going to jump [the Leaf Pit]…so when I got that out of the way, I was like ‘game on, let’s go’.”
9:57 a.m. EST: Might be the best finish shot of the day so far:Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 64)
9:54 a.m. EST: Helen and My Ernie climb over the brush at the Trout Hatchery but they’re through it!
9:53 a.m. EST: Bubby’s going to get into time penalties here as Cola is tiring, but what a partnership as he continues to dig for her. And they’ve done it! 25 seconds over but what a round.
9:52 a.m. EST: Next away are Australian pair Sammi Birch and Finduss PFB.
9:50 a.m. EST: Bubby taps Cola twice on the shoulder to bring him back onto his line as they knife through the Defender Dairy Mound. Helen shouts “Long!” at the Leaf Pit and navigates the longer alternate route.
9:48 a.m. EST: Helen Wilson returned to this level for the first time in 16 years at Badminton earlier this year with My Ernie, and now we’ll see how My Ernie’s hunting experience helps him navigate the terrain here.
9:47 a.m. EST: I just love Cola’s style: super snappy up front and careful without taking too much time. What a keen expression, too — you can tell how well this pair knows each other. Nicely, boldly ridden at the tough Leaf Pit:
9:44 a.m. EST: Cedric Lyard navigates home with Unum De’Or, 40+ seconds over but clear and ears pricked at the end.
9:42 a.m. EST: Uber-talented young rider Bubby Upton is now away with Cola III. If she can get to the end, you can bet she’ll be riding extra smart as her Badminton weekend ended at one of the final fences earlier this year.
9:41 a.m. EST: I thought William might pull up after the early blip, and now he’s done that. Gutting, but I can appreciate this decision from both him and Sarah earlier. Experience, yes, is valuable, but horses first is always the right call and there is always another event.
9:40 a.m. EST: No!! Oratorio is the latest to duck out to the right at the out of the Leaf Pit, and William loses his stirrup as he regroups for the alternate. Ugh, what a bummer so early on.
9:39 a.m. EST: William sees his forward distance about 10 strides out for the second fence, really setting the tone for Oratorio early on:
9:37 a.m. EST: Here comes William! He’s away the Oratorio II, who may have won Kentucky last year had it not been for a super unfortunate tumble towards the end of the track.
9:35 a.m. EST: Cedric has a strong ride through the Leaf Pit, standing off the corner on the out but making it happen as Michael navigates the Dairy Farm question at 18.
9:33 a.m. EST: Arthur is home clear and another Frenchman now joins the course, Cedric Lyard and Unum De’Or. Michael Owen is clear through the Trout Hatchery.
9:31 a.m. EST: Arthur Duffort is taking his time toward the end and having quite a few awkward jumps but they’re getting close to home.
9:26 a.m. EST: Looks like we are getting back underway as Arthur restarts. Michael Owen and Bradeley Law will be the next starters.
9:24 a.m. EST: Ringwood LB is checked out and cooled out by the on-site team:
9:21 a.m. EST: Oh no! Susie Berry and Ringwood LB have a tumble at the huge oxer at the highest part of the track, fence 19 the Fairfax & Favor Boot Racks. They’ll go onto a hold just to make sure all is well (Ringwood LB’s shoulder didn’t really hit the ground, so she’s been assessed a Rider Fall at this point), but they are on their feet and appear to be ok. Jonelle comments that this is a really tough part of the course, having climbed all the way up to this point and dealing with the undulation that saps energy. She says she’s surprised there haven’t been more mistakes at this fence.
9:16 a.m. EST: Arthur Duffort and Toronto d’Aurois are the latest starters. Hollie Swain and Solo bank the Voltaire Design Bank but are no worse for the wear.
9:13 a.m. EST: Irish rider Susie Berry goes long at the Leaf Pit with the 5* debutant Ringwood LB. Meanwhile CMS Google has made a fan in me as she finishes with just one blip and a world of experience, ears pricked and galloping well through the finish. Kristina Hall-Jackson is a participant in the Wesko Equestrian Foundation, receiving funding and coaching to get her prepped for this debut.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 62)
9:06 a.m. EST: Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google have a seriously brave jump over the B element of the Trout Hatchery, but that boldness catches up with them at the EF element as they can’t quite get there and duck to the left. Kate Shapland and Uris Cavalier picked up another 20 at fence 22, the alternate triple bar wedge after the Voltaire Design Bank jump. Hollie Swain and Solo are our newest starters and are the latest to fall victim to the direct route at the Leaf Pit. Bummer!
9:03 a.m. EST: Tregilder takes a big jump at the penultimate Parasol Table and unfortunately can’t stick the landing, tumbling and sending Oliver out the side. They are both up, Tregilder looks a bit jelly-legged but hopefully will be no worse for the wear. Next out of the box are another debut pair, Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google. Our other debut pair on course, Kate Shapland and Uris Cavalier, have put their early trouble behind them and have jumped clear through 21 now.
9:01 a.m. EST: Oliver has 42 seconds left to get home with a tiring Tregilder.
8:58 a.m. EST: 5* debutants Kate Shapland and Uris Cavalier are also on course and pick up a 20 at the Defender Valley at 8. Oliver is clear through 21 and riding aggressively with Tregilder.
8:56 a.m. EST: Tim is likely not going to hit the time, but he’s not far off as he comes to the final fence. That’s 13 seconds over and a successful Burghley debut for the 12-year-old Vitali. We’ve also learned he’s withdrawn Polystar, so that’s a finished day for the Prices.
8:52 a.m. EST: Oliver Townend is now away with Tregilder.
8:49 a.m. EST: Jonelle provides some perspective on the tricky Leaf Pit question, which has emerged as one of the more influential questions at this halfway-or-so mark.
“[The] drop off the Leaf Pit…you know we’ve never had anything on such a related distance, and obviously there’s unpredictability of how they’re going to come off that drop. But I think the key is to try and get a pushing five strives to set you up for the three [to the corner]. I think we’ve seen a few that are getting there a little bit too easy on the five and then the horses are landing short. And then you’ve got a little rise on the ground to a very big corner, and they’re just not quite able to get up there with enough impulsion on the three.”
8:45 a.m. EST: Jonelle now joins us in the commentary box as her hubby, Tim, sets out with Vitali.
8:43 a.m. EST: Zara is the latest to fall victim to the left-handed corner at the Leaf Pit as Class Affair doesn’t lock on and ducks out. She’s put her hand up and won’t continue on.
8:40 a.m. EST: Tom Rowland and Possible Mission catch a shoulder at the B element of fence 10, the Trout Hatchery. They’re both immediately up and appear to be ok as Zara Tindall with Class Affair leaves the start box.
8:39 a.m. EST: Oh, I’ve just noticed they’ve taken away Emily’s 20 at the Trout Hatchery, giving her a clear with 30.4 time.
8:35 a.m. EST: Tom Rowland and Possible Mission are our next starters, while Felicity Collins has opted to pull up RSH Contend OR at Herbert’s Hollow at 9.
8:32 a.m. JP Sheffield and Kiltar OBOS duck out at fence 5, the Defender Valley. We’re also joined by Felicity Collins who picks up an early 20 with RSH Contend OR at the Leaf Pit.
8:28 a.m. EST: Well she’ll be bummed about that 20 but Corvett finishes in great form and notches a fourth different 5* cross country completion: Kentucky, Maryland, Badminton, and now Burghley.
8:26 a.m. EST: Because I know we were all waiting for a shot of Corvett at the Cottesmore Leap…Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 64)
8:24 a.m. EST: First-timer Alice Casburn has come home clear about 17 seconds over!! What a thrill.
8:23 a.m. EST: Rats! Corouet has ducked out at the final element of the direct route at the Leaf Pit, and actually Sarah has put her hand up to retire. No point in going on for the additional wear and tear when their competitiveness has been shot.
8:20 a.m. EST: We’re now joined by Sarah Bullimore and Corouet, while Emily Hamel and Corvett have a look as they get into the water at the Trout Hatchery. Bummer if she’s given a 20 — very similar to what happened to her at Badminton. Looks like she has been assessed a 20.
8:19 a.m. EST: As if we needed more reason to be impressed, Jonelle says her watch stopped just as soon as she left the box. Partnership, feel, and experience pay off here.
8:17 a.m. EST: Now on course are our final American pair, Emily Hamel and her high-jumping Corvett.
8:16 a.m. EST: What a treat to watch Classic Moet, who at 19 years young just turned in the FIRST DOUBLE CLEAR of the day. Three seconds under! My favorite thing, among many, about “Molly” is the fact that her expression never changes and she just keeps going. What a horse. What a privilege to watch her.
8:13 a.m. EST: Tom Crisp just rode a clear round with three broken ribs, in case you were feeling a bit tired today…
8:13 a.m. EST: Richard Jones is triumphantly home clear with a fit-looking Alfies Clover who was still galloping away from the Parasol Table, second to last fence.
8:11 a.m. EST: Jonelle is a second up on the clock with about 5 minutes to go. Alice Casburn and Topspin are away for their first 5* cross country!
8:07 a.m. EST: Tom Crisp with Liberty and Glory are home clear with about 27 seconds of time. A really cool horse! Richard and Alfies Clover are clear through 18 and Jonelle makes quick work of the Leaf Pit with Classic Moet.
8:04 a.m. EST: Jonelle Price and Classic Moet are the next to join us! Can’t wait for this. Meanwhile Harry Meade and Nicole Brown are stepping in to take over commentary.
8:04 a.m. EST: Richard opts for the longer route at the Leaf Pit and he’s clear there. The thing about Derek’s long routes is that they’re long, but they still allow the rider to flow so their momentum is not interrupted. So if your plan is to go long, you can do so without feeling you’ve wasted precious time.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 62)
8:00 a.m. EST: Now away are local favorites Richard Jones with Alfies Clover. A few years back Richard actually lost a good bit of one of his ring fingers, which caused him to have to relearn how to hold his reins. He’s no worse for the wear though and is a very consistent cross country rider.
7:58 a.m. EST: Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory are our next out while Meghan is home. She will be so bummed about that 20 that really shouldn’t have been but what a round otherwise!
7:56 a.m. EST: Danielle Dunn and Grandslam sadly come to grief at fence 10, the Trout Hatchery. It seems this pair had a bit of trouble communicating about pace and that catches up with them here as they both fall. They are up and seem to be fine.
7:53 a.m. EST: Meghan will be frustrated after losing some balance at the Joules at the Malting, forcing her to opt for the alternate but picking up a 20 in the process. Meanwhile, Grandslam shows his scope and bravery at the out of the Leaf Pit. Here’s a look at an elated Piggy finishing with Vanir Kamira:
7:52 a.m. EST: Piggy is going to do it! Nearly! She’s just one second over — what a horse!
7:50 a.m. EST: Angus Smales and ESI Phoenix are home clear, about a minute over but safe! Angus isn’t just an event rider: he’s a hunt rider and course designer to boot! Meanwhile, we’re joined by Danielle Dunn and the 17-year-old Grandslam. Vanir Kamira is still looking quite fresh at 26. Meghan is clear through 12.
7:48 a.m. EST: Piggy and Vanir Kamira knife their way through the Defender at the Dairy Mounds at 18. Meghan clears the Leaf Pit, nice riding!
7:45 a.m. EST: And we’re away with Meghan O’Donoghue and the badass Thoroughbred Palm Crescent. Piggy is clear through 12.
7:42 a.m. EST: Good call, Francis. He’s made the choice to pull up DHI Purple Rain, heartbreakingly close to home but given how the horse was jumping back at 18 I think this was the only call.
7:42 a.m. EST: And here we go! Former Badminton winners Piggy March and Vanir Kamira are on track.
7:41 a.m. EST: DHI Purple Rain banks the Voltaire Design Bank and demolishes the Triple Bar afterward. This one is going to be one who will need a lot of help to finish.
7:38 a.m. EST: DHI Purple Rain looking a bit tired as he feels his way through the Defender Valley at 18. Andrew James has brought Celtic Morning Star home with two early blips but a positive finish!
7:35 a.m. EST: Angus Smales and ESI Phoenix will be the next to see on course.
7:33 a.m. EST: Wills isn’t going to be as close as he was earlier to the time, but he’s only about 22 seconds over as he crosses the finish. This is a 5* first-timer horse — what an effort! Meanwhile, Francis and DHI Purple Rain are clear through 10.
7:30 a.m. EST: Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain are the latest on course.
7:28 a.m. EST: Celtic Morning Star hesitates at the drop to the Leaf Pit and then ducks out at the third element of the straight route. They’re clear on the alternate attempt. That element has caught out a few riders because of its positioning and striding.
7:28 a.m. EST: Wills Oakden is almost bang on his minute markers with about 5 minutes to go. Can he get closer?
7:26 a.m. EST: “I was so nervous last night, I just wanted to finish!” an elated Cornelia Dorr says. We’d say you accomplished that!
7:25 a.m. EST: Andrew James now joins us with the son of Chilli Morning, Celtic Morning Star.
7:23 a.m. EST: Cornelia absolutely smashed her debut here, picking up 8.4 time to be the quickest so far and move into third provisionally. Way to go, lady!
7:22 a.m. EST: Our next out will be Wills Oakden with Oughterard Cooley. Cornelia is nearly home, she won’t catch the time but she’s not going to far off if she can get home safe.
7:19 a.m. EST: Ah what a bummer. Rodolphe has a bit of a slow motion fall at the fence in the water at the Trout Hatchery. Both totally ok, except maybe for ego.
7:16 a.m. EST: If you can believe it, Cornelia’s the quickest so far as she gets into the final third or so of the course. Come on girl!
7:16 a.m. EST:Rodolphe Scherer and Song du Magay now join us on course as Cornelia tackles the Joules at the Maltings (fence 14).Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 62)
7:14 a.m. EST: Clear with 13.6 time for Padraig and the super-class HHS Noble Call. Meanwhile Cornelia is through the Leaf Pit, look at this excellent footwork from Daytona Beach 8:
7:11 a.m. EST: Can you imagine doing your first 5* at Burghley? That’s what Cornelia Dorr, our next American, and several others are doing this weekend. Talk about brave — I’m here for it! Cornelia now joins us with the lovely and spicy Daytona Beach 8.
7:09 a.m. EST: Interestingly, HHS Noble Call is show jumping bred (Fortunas – Noblina, by Cavalier Royale), yet he’s made this track look the smoothest so far. Here’s a look at Padraig and this super cool horse over the famous Cottesmore Leap:
7:08 a.m. EST: Well, I’m going to stop typing that I like someone because evidently that’s a jinx today. Tiger Mail says no again at fence 6, the Oxer Over Ditch, and Phoebe has put her hand up. Bummer, but a smart call as that isn’t the feeling either of them wants to have on a track like this.
7:06 a.m. EST: Blast, Tiger Mail stops at the B element of the first combination in the arena, not quite one you’d expect to see an issue with. They’ll now have to carry on with that early 20.
7:05 a.m. EST: One of my favorite storylines of the week, Phoebe Buckley with the little Tiger Mail by Jaguar Mail, are now out on course. Padraig is clear through 12 with HHS Noble Call and having a really positive ride so far.
7:02 a.m. EST: We’re back underway with Padraig McCarthy and HHS Noble Call.
6:59 a.m. EST: Pippa says she had to work quite hard the whole way around. We’re still on a hold for now.
6:58 a.m. EST: It looks like Woods is going to call it a day during this hold, which is probably the smartest call carrying the 3 refusals. What a huge bummer, I feel for him with the tumult he experienced coming over. As his coach Sharon would say, your greatest opportunity for growth comes from moments like this. Chin up, Woods.
6:54 a.m. EST: Sadly Woods now has a second runout at the Defender Valley, not the feeling you want to have so early on. Sadly HD Bronze and Harry Mutch have had an issue at the Cottesmore Leap, taking a funny leap and then landing on his stifle in the brush. He’s out of it now but I hope his stifle is ok, bless him. Woods is showing on three refusals now, another at 10 the Trout Hatchery. We’re also on a hold while they attend to HD Bronze and the Cottesmore Leap fence.
6:53 a.m. EST: Woods has to play alphabet soup after running out at the third element of the Leaf Pit. Super frustrating I’m sure.
6:51 a.m. EST: A track like this really could suit a horse like C’est La Vie 135 quite well, but control will be a factor.
6:50 a.m. EST: Whoops. A bit of a fudgey distance for “Contendro”, who can be very strong in this phase. Getting into a rideable rhythm will be imperative for this pair, who need to be on the same page to tackle this challenge.
6:47 a.m. EST: Nice job, Pippa! Billy Walk On is home clear with 49 seconds of time. Time is going to play a big role today, I think. Tim accrued 14.4 (36 seconds) with Bango. Meanwhile, Harry Mutch is clear through the Leaf Pit with a huge leap over the final element on the direct route. Our first American on course will be Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135, next out!Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 64)
6:46 a.m. EST: Come on, Billy! Pippa is clear through the Lion Bridge at 27.
6:45 a.m. EST: Now out on course are Harry Mutch with HD Bronze, currently on a score of 30.8.
6:44 a.m. EST: Sadly Emma and Waldo fall at the out of the Holland Cooper Leaf Pit — Waldo gave it quite an effort and just caught his front legs on the jump, tossing himself over and rolling onto Emma. They are both up and seem to be fine. Tim’s clear pathfinder could signal one of two things: a doable track or a false sense of security.
6:42 a.m. EST: Emma Hyslop-Webb and Waldo III are our next on course. Meanwhile Tim has done exactly what he set out to do, jumping a clear round and pulling up a fit-looking Bango. No word on their time yet.
6:40 a.m. EST: Pippa Funnell really has to work to get Billy Walk On through the Trout Hatchery water at 10. Billy is again quite looky on course but he’s listening — Pippa’s going to look for him to gain confidence as they continue around about a third of the way through. Time is clear through 27, the Lion Bridge water, taking the alternate option to jump the fence following the water instead of the boat in the water. This alternate doesn’t appear to take much extra time and could be a safe choice for a horse that’s tiring toward the end (but I’m not sure how much this applies to Bango, who is still galloping quite well!).
6:38 a.m. EST: Bango is still looking full of run as Tim takes a big half-halt as Bango tackles the terrain ahead of the Rolex oxer at 15.
6:36 a.m. EST: Now joining us is defending winner Pippa Funnell with Billy Walk On, who can be a bit cheeky in this phase so she’s set out on a strong rhythm. Meanwhile Tim has cleared the big open corners and upright gate at 13 and 14.
6:33 a.m. EST: Tim is riding craftily here as Bango can be quite strong. But he’s an excellent cross country horse on his day. They make it through the straight route (which only consists of 3 elements) at the Holland Cooper Leaf Pit.
6:31 a.m. EST: And we are underway with Tim and Bango, coming forward on a score of 29.8.
6:25 a.m. EST: I’m not even riding and I could barely sleep last night in anticipation of today. I watched the course preview on Burghley TV last night and cannot wait to see how some of these questions ride. Tim Price and Bango will be our first to see in just a few minutes, so buckle in and get ready! You can take another look at the track in Tilly’s course preview and rider reaction roundup here.