Kieffer Into Second As Todd Takes Over as Burghley Leader

Sir Mark Todd, Leonidas
Credit : Silverhill Webdesign

Friday 01 September - 22h03 | Lulu Kyriacou/FEI

Kieffer Into Second As Todd Takes Over as Burghley Leader

The second day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials produced some sensational tests and a new leader, although that leader is certainly no stranger to heading the Burghley scoreboard! But more exciting to America readers were the fine performances  from visiting US riders, particularly Lauren Kieffer who is now second after dressage with Veronica.

 - Kieffer Into Second As Todd Takes Over as Burghley Leader

Laure Kieffer
Credit : Silverhill Web Design

Nearly 40 years after the legendary Sir Mark Todd (NZL) first rode at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) he is in the lead after dressage with Leonidas ll on a mark of 36.7. In a star-studded line-up, the double Olympic champion heads the USA’s Lauren Kieffer on Veronica ll by just 0.3 of a penalty, with world number one and FEI Classics™ leader Michael Jung now in third on La Biosthetique Sam.
The tall, lean New Zealander, 61, who last triumphed at Burghley in 1999, made an elegant picture on the German-bred 13-year-old, the bay gelding remaining obedient yet lively and light in his paces as well as beautifully supple.

"I may have won Burghley five times, but I haven’t won it this century! Finally, this horse is starting to grow up. When I got him as a six-year-old he was so impetuous, but now he knows what he’s meant to do and I’ve got every confidence in him," commented Sir Mark.

Kieffer and the mare Veronica have a second place at Kentucky 2016 and 17th at Badminton this year under their belt, but it is their first visit to Burghley.

"Most of the American riders are sitting on thoroughbreds, so we’re pretty happy about tomorrow’s cross-country, but Burghley is something that’s in a class of its own and we have all studied it pretty carefully," she said.

​The time is likely to be the biggest issue for Kieffer and her mare, who is a reliable jumper but not the fastest galloper, although luckily this year the ground will be almost perfect and perhaps a little less testing than in recent years when rained upon.

Two more senior riders, Andrew Nicholson (NZL), 55, on Nereo and Britain’s Kristina Cook, 46, on Calvino ll, scored under 40 penalties and are in close contention in fourth and fifth places. Nicholson, currently fourth in the FEI Classics™, has also won Burghley five times, although never on the 17-year-old Nereo, his winning mount at Badminton this year.

Cook, a multiple winner of team medals, including at the recent FEI European Championships in Poland, is renowned for her skill as a cross-country rider but has never won a CCI4*, and her mark of 39.6 may give her the best chance yet. "I don’t really do dressage in the 30s! So I’ll be going for it tomorrow. Calvino is only small-framed but he has the heart of a lion."

Cook will be first out on the cross-country course tomorrow at 11.30 CEST on Star Witness, currently 40th after dressage.

 - Kieffer Into Second As Todd Takes Over as Burghley Leader

Team USA Do Their Country Proud So Far

Team USA Do Their Country Proud So Far - Kieffer Into Second As Todd Takes Over as Burghley Leader

Lynn Symansky rides Donner into 11th
Credit : Silverhill Web Design

The visiting Americans have plenty to cheer about. After Mackenna Shea's great test yesterday, Lynn Symanske and Donner produced their best ever 4* test so far to lie eleventh and only penalties behind the leader. The pair have yet to quite reproduce their outstanding form in 3* contests at this higher level but Donner is still only 14  and his day may yet come.  Boyd Martin is only three penalties further back and Steady Eddie is likely to be one of those challenging for the optimum time so may improve several places tomorrow if he goes clear.  

​Sixtyone dressage starters is one of the smallest fields in recent years at the world's premier autumn three day event, but there is no lack of quality.

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