With day one of Land Rover Burghley dressage on the books, defending champion and current world no. 1 Tim Price already has two horses in the top 10 — Bango is tied for 2nd, and Xavier Faer is 8th — with his winning partner from 2019, Ringwood Sky Boy, the last up the centerline on Friday.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, Zara Tindall is always a hot ticket, and she’s making a bid this year with the inexperienced but exciting Class Affair. The Queen’s granddaughter last contested Burghley, the centerpiece of which is her father Captain Mark Phillips’ cross country course, in 2017.
These two riders and more preview Burghley 2019 in the video above, produced by the Beat Media Group with footage from the first horse inspection.
Tim, 40, says, “It’s been a fun year having the title of Burghley champion in my back pocket but it feel very real now that we’re back here trying to prove it all again. What a magic experience it was last year. Ringwood Sky Boy has been here a few times and had some good results, so to get it in the bag with him was really special. I want to win the title back but it’s not really my mental focus or setup at the moment. There are just so many jobs at a big event like this, just getting here, doing the trot up.”
Tim’s top ride on Thursday was Bango, who scored a 29.6.
“I feel like I’ve got a good chance on a few of these horses actually, so I just have to prove it. It’s a fun feeling being world no.1 as I’ve never been an out and out winner,” he says. “I’m not one that goes and hunts down every single prize there is on the circuit, so it feels like it’s a real show of consistency and that’s something I’ve done with a lot of different horses. It’s something I’m very proud of and it does bring an element of confidence. It’s a reflection that things are going well, so hopefully I turn up on Sunday with a healthy horse that’s good to jump.”
Zara, 38, is a Burghley veteran whose best finish came in her 2003 debut, when she enjoyed a second place result with her great partner Toytown. She returns this year with Class Affair, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.
“Burghley is one of my favorite events of the whole year,” she says. “I guess I kind of started my four-star career here with Toytown — or certainly my successful results with Toytown.”
Of the always formidable course, Zara says, “I think you always get to Burghley and you always know if you’re at the top of your game and we’ve all been out and had a look at the cross country course. My father again has produced an incredible cross country and we’ve got to go out and attack it. I’m excited to be back and I’ve got a really nice horse. Hopefully we can go out and do the business on Saturday.
“It’s big, it’s a proper course with the hills and it always makes a huge difference to how much petrol you have in the tank. You have to try and reserve that petrol to be able to get to the end and make sure that every jump is as seamless as you can — I am excited to have a horse that loves that phase.”
Other riders featured on the video include Georgie Spence, who sits 6th after Thursday dressage with Wii Limbo; Ben Hobday, who is 9th with Harelaw Wizard; and Richard Jones, who competes tomorrow with Alfies Clover.
“It feels amazing to be back at Burghley, it’s one of the best events of the year and for him it’s his fifth attempt here so it’s great to be back with a special contender,” says Georgie, who has contested Burghley for 10 out of the past 12 years. “We’re hoping for a top 10 this year if we can put everything in place. He’s a very capable horse in all three disciplines and in previous years I’ve pulled a bit much in the cross country. I need to be a bit braver but it’s good to be back and have a horse that has competed five times is very special. The cross country has to be my favorite part though.”
Catch up on EN’s coverage of Burghley here.
The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 5-8) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk.
Ecovet fly spray creates a vapor barrier around your horse that confuses and overwhelms an insect’s normal directional ability. Thanks to this Ecovet barrier, the insect is unable to locate your horse as its next victim. Watch Ecovet in action: http://bit.ly/ecovetvideo