Burghley: Who Will Succeed Burton? U.S. has high hopes

Credit : The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Official Page (Facebook)

Tuesday 29 August - 11h57 | Lulu Kyriacou

Burghley: Who Will Succeed Burton? U.S. has high hopes

The CCI4* Land Rover Burghley International Horse Trials are upon us, with the 80 horses so far accepted being presented to the Ground Jury and veterinary panel tomorow afternoon. But who will succeed Chris Burton as the latest name on the Roll of Honour? The U.S. will certainly be making a charge, with a strong contingent of riders in Great Britain this year.

 - Burghley: Who Will Succeed Burton? U.S. has high hopes

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie

Burton will not be defending his title this year as he had to withdraw the notoriously fragile Nobilis 18, who has only been out twice this season, albeit with great effect, the most recent occasion being at the CHIO Aachen. However, as one would expect, there is a top class field assembled, with plenty of foreign interest as the Australians, New Zealanders and the Americans do not have a continental championship this year and are thus sending strong contingents.

​It has been a while since there was an American winner (Stephen Bradley in 1993) but this year Boyd Martin will be aiming for the title with Steady Eddie, an off the track Thoroughbred whose speedy galloping and racing stamina will be ideal for Burghley's undulations (you can see a course preview here).  Martin was born Australian but has ridden for the USA for some years now, including representing them at Olympics and World Championships, and he is certainly due a 4* win. Also coming from across the pond is Lynn Symansky and the redoubtable Donner, whose dressage might let them down... but they have been round before.

​Australia have other representatives in Burton's absence, including former winner Andrew Hoy, but are looking a little weaker than in other years. Unlike the New Zealanders, who are the most successful nation here outside of the British. Sir Mark Todd and Carloine Powell have both won before, Tim Price has been placed on occasion and of course Andrew Nicholson is a multiple winner who will be bringing his Badminton champion Nereo as one of his rides and will be hoping to win again and be one leg short of the Grand Slam.

​Speaking of which, the most recent winner of that honour, Michael Jung, is aiming for another win with La Biosthetique Sam, and if there is such a thing as a certainty in eventing, it is that this pair wil figure in the final results. There is nothing they have not won, and Jung has saved the horse for this, prefering to take one of his other rides to the recent European Championships.

​But the British are on a high after they regained their European Team title in Strzegom, and they certainly will be the nation to beat. Gemma Tattersall is in sparkling form and brings her Gatcombe winner Arctic Soul, who is another who will find the stamina-sapping course to their advantage. So will Kristina Cook's mount Star Witness, already top ten placed in the past both here and at Badminton, but they are another pair who might be slightly off the pace after dressage. Oliver Townend has two rides, and another planning to make an appearance is Zara Tindall with High Kingdom, who reached the podium in 2013. 

​The course runs in reverse order this year with the first water crossing  (where Micheal Jung and Fischer Rocana fell last year) coming very early, and usually when travelling in this dirction the time is harder to get.  Although the dressage and show jumping will play their part, Burghley's cross country is always the dominant factor and if you are looking to back the winner, pick one with good cross country form! The full entries list is here. 

​Dressage will begin on Thursday and the event will be live streamed on Burghley TV.

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